Final (2:00 PM-3:00 PM) Saturday, Jun 7, 2008
  1 2 T
Al-Masad (6-1-0) 34 27 61
Duha (1-7-0) 19 32 51

Poor First Half Leads to Duha’s Demise Jun 10, 2008
by Ahsan Raza  

Duha just came off an unbelievable victory over Takathur in their first round game earlier on in the day. Although they managed to torch their opponents for 100 points, one has to wonder if that may have had a negative effect in their second round match up against a much tougher and wiser Al Masad squad. 100 points is all fine and dandy, but Duha may have expelled all their energy in their first game, without realizing that they should have saved some of their buckets for the next game, which was to be played on the same day.

Al Masad has been one of the hottest teams in the leagues, as they entered the playoffs riding a 5 game wining streak. Could this finally be the year for them? Is their better, better then everyone else’s better? Well the way this team has come together after their one and only loss on opening day, it seems as if this year could very well be the year they finally win the big one.

With the second round match up underway, Al Masad had another fantastic start to their game. They opened the game up with Ziyad Rao hitting a 3 pointer and getting hit on the play as well. He managed to hit his free throw, and give his team the early momentum and 4-0 lead. Following a Duha basket, Al Masad got a pair of baskets by their captain Usman Chaudhry who was leading his team both vocally and physically in the game.

Abdi Adam and Abdul Adoo, the young stars of Duha were struggling early on as Al Masad’s suffocating defense managed to keep them in check. Al Masad on the other hand was firing on all cylinders as League MVP Ibrahim Baig and Big Ticket Babz were showing why they were selected as All Stars. They continued to break down Duha’s thin defense for easy points and layups. With the first half coming to an end, Al Masad was up big, leading 34-19. They were lead by Babz’s 10 points, while Abdi lead his squad with 5 points.

The second half saw a re-energized Duha squad, as they started off really well. Putting Al Masad on their heels, Duha slowly tried to climb their way out of the deep hole they put themselves in. Abdi finally got it going, as he scored 10 consecutive points for his team, as Duha went on a 10-3 run to open the second half. With Al Masad only up 9 points with lots of time remaining, a sense of nervousness could be felt from their bench. The once mighty defense displayed in the first half seemed to disappear at times in the second half.

But with Al Masad struggling, their composure and bench play came through in the clutch. It started with Zuhaib Ansari, who went coast to coast for a beautiful drive for an And-1 bucket. That play was followed by a big block by Ibrahim Baig, resulting in another fast break bucket. Al Masad came back to life, and ended any chance of a comeback as they played some gritty basketball to close the game. The game ended with Al Masad winning 61-51 as they eliminated Duha and sent them home. I mean this literally, as some of Duha’s players actually got rides back home from Al Masad.

Al Masad was led by Baig and Babz who poured in 15 points, and also Usman, who scored 12 quiet points and contributed most importantly as the vocal leader for this squad.

With that, Al Masad is headed to the Semi finals for the second straight season, and will face the winner of a thrilling playoff matchup between Kawther and Nasr.