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Riyadi clinch league title - Mar 12, 2016


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Riyadi sealed the 2015-2016 season taking home the Jordan Basketball League crown to win the title which had eluded them for 20 years. Riyadi beat titleholders Orthodoxi 68-64 to win the best-of-seven play-offs 4-0 after they beat them 81-55 earlier in the week as well as twice in Round 2: 73-65 and 81-73. 'The team worked hard and their efforts paid off. We are happy and motivated for this to be a new start and for us to retain the title,' Riyadi Secretary General Fadi Sabbah told The Jordan Times. Riyadi-Aramex had an eight-game winning streak in Round 2 and later in the play-offs, making it a memorable win for the squad who last won the league nearly 20 years ago in 1997 by then-Jazira-Aramex team (whose players later on formed Riyadi's line-up). On the other hand, Hurrieh and Awdeh are now 2-2 in the best-of-five play-offs for third place. Hurrieh extended the series by beating Awdeh 65-62 on Monday and 71-65 earlier while Awdeh beat Hurrieh twice 65-64 and 65-60. The season started with Orthodoxi winning the Jordan Cup and aiming to retain the league title which they won for the record 23rd time last year. Hurrieh had finished Round 1 with an unbeaten record while Orthodoxi were second after they beat Riyadi. With teams like Applied Science University, Ittihad, Wihdat pulling out of the competition, Awdeh joined the top four. At the other end of the standings, Kufr Youba and Jalil pushed Ghazzet Hashem and Nashama to be relegated to Division 1. Riyadi rebounded and became the only unbeaten team in Round 2 beating Orthodoxi twice as well as Awdeh 86-61 and 85-74 Hurrieh 73-67 and 80-77. Orthodoxi seemed to be struggling as they were also eliminated from the West Asian Basketball Championship and only managed to beat Hurrieh 78-58 and 67-52 and Awdeh 86-82 and 74-67 but could not beat Riyadi. Apart from Riyadi and Orthodoxi, leading clubs abandoned the game this season leading to major changes in the league. After winning the league four times, the last being in 2013 and 2014, both ASU and Ittihad disbanded their teams over differences with the Jordan Basketball Federation. Regulations allowing players to represent teams in two divisions has led to an unstable and week competition as players dispersed over the rest of clubs and new clubs with no fan base entered the competition leading to a sharp decline in the game locally and Jordan's regional competitive chances. The Basketball League, which started in 1952, has had 58 editions with eight teams crowned champion. It was cancelled in three seasons and discontinued once. Orthodoxi have won 23 times, Ahli 21, Zain (Fastlink) six times, ASU four times, Jazira-Aramex twice, Riyadi, Urdun, Watany and the Electricity Co. once each.
Courtesy of: jordantimes.com   




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