Lebanese league finalists Riyadi and Champville fly to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the Arab Championships with the two sides hoping to meet in another final.
Riyadi come into the tournament fresh from winning the Lebanese league Sunday with a full roster of players including fit-again center Loren Woods.
The American missed the entire Final Four playoffs due to injury but the former NBA star will join up with Ismael Ahmad, Nate Johnson and the rest of the Riyadi squad confident of yet another title win.
Despite defeat in last Sunday’s final, Champville enter the tournament with a spring in their step thanks to the return of Jay Youngblood who has missed the last month – and the whole Final Four playoffs – following a suspension for the use of the banned substance Jack3D.
Champville were a poorer side in the final against Riyadi thanks to Youngblood’s absence. The Dik al-Mehdi side were forced to rely too heavily on captain Fadi al-Khatib for points. Riyadi were able to base their entire defensive system on stopping Khatib in the knowledge few others in the side could score consistently. Youngblood’s presence will make Arab Championship defense work harder and spend less time marking Champville’s talisman.
Three days after the Arab Championships come to a close on May 25, Khatib will have the dubious honor of switching to Riyadi for the Asian Champions Cup.
As WABA League winners, Riyadi will be among the favorites in Manila especially considering their formidable lineup of Woods, Khatib, Ahmad, Johnson and Mahmoud, all of whom of experience at the highest level.
Riyadi have come third in the tournament but coach Fouad Abou Chacra believes the signing of Khatib could be enough to land their first trophy.
“The presence of Khatib would be a big, big plus for the team in Asia, especially that Riyadi will be representing Lebanon and the Asian Championship is a big target for the Club being the only one missing in our gallery.
“In all cases we will have a strong chemistry among the players that know each other very well.”
Photo: From al-Akhbar NewsPaper
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Sports/Basketball/2011/May-14/Riyadi-Champville-hope-to-face-off-in-Abu-Dhabi.ashx#ixzz1MJSyXoVG
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)