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Al Shaya continue Inter-Company dominance Radisson edge Regency Hotel in low scoring humdrum

KUWAIT CITY, May 3: Samuel Al Shaya were on Friday afternoon crowned FBL inter-company division basketball tournament Grand Slam champions after lifting the trophy for the third consecutive season having clinched a decisive 90-78 victory against Shrimpy restaurant at the Nasser Sports Club in Hasawi. Al Shaya’s victory in the seventh conference championship game was not in doubt given the grit they showed last week in their last game against Shrimpy who had broken loose in the final stretch, overwhelmed the opposition defenses to nibble away their deficit and headed for a clear victory which if materialized would have handed them the championship trophy on a silver platter in accordance with the ground rules of the tournament. Samuel Al Shaya were saved by the bell as the restaurateurs had run out of time in their quest to zero out the deficit. But this time around the Al Shaya squad appeared completely on top of their game taking the lead in all rounds except the third.

Alicento’s two- pointer kick- started Al Shaya’s campaign. Tolentino, MVP of the game, led a balanced scoring effort to finish with 29 points while Bernarte and Ramos chipped in 18 and 14 apiece, and the feisty Al Shaya squad held off several Shrimpy runs in a game that saw the restaurateurs’ attempts at swarming the opposition area thwarted in the first half. Shrimpy took an early 3-point lead six minutes into the game but were quickly neutralized as Ramos bombarded their hoop with ease. Tala and Francisco led the Shrimpy offensives in most of the first half that saw their side slide 12 points adrift at 38-50.

Trailing in double digit, Shrimpy tackled the game with added urgency entering the third quarter, with Lorenzo and Tala crisscrossing the court to eke out points and by the end of the third, Shrimpy had managed to slash down their deficit to 6 points after a 19-13 run. Tala led the Shrimpy claw back with a double 3-pointer run in the third for his side to go up 3 points over the opposition, 14-11 after Surla had the last of his 12 points on a put back after three other misses. But Al Shaya did the same thing at the other end, capped by a bucket from Gajo, who had 16 points and nine rebounds to his name. The sides battled into the final round almost neck and neck with Al Shaya riding on an ever decreasing six point margin at 63-57.

The tit-for-tat shots at the hoops continued into the final stretch with Al Shaya again picking up on lose balls to up their side of the scores while Shrimpy, though still aggressive and on the run, turned over the ball most of the time, resulting in a further widening of their deficit. Tolentino went ahead to hit home two free throws while Shrimpy’s Francisco missed a driving shot at the hoop in the game riddled with 62 fouls. Two from each side were walked off to the locker room for maximizing their personal fouls committed. Lorenzo stole the ball in the final seconds and had a shot attempt blocked by Al Shaya’s Dimano. And the buzzer sounded at 90-78 for Samuel Al Shaya to celebrate their Grand Slam championship trophy win in the tournament.

A summary of winners and awardees in the Inter-Company championship finals run as below:
* Champion- Samuel Al Shaya
* 1st Runner Up- Shrimpy Restaurant
* 2nd Runner Up- Dunkin Donuts
* Season MVP- Tollentino of Al Shaya

The tournament’s Mythical five players received their awards individually presented to them by FBL/BAP Commissioner Demos Arienda in recognition of their outstanding performance. The players who included three from AlShaya and two from Shrimpy are:
* Tolentino-Al Shaya
* Bernardette- Al Shaya
* Tagatac- Al Shaya
* Lorenzo- Shrimpy
* Cordova- Shrimpy

Meanwhile, on the other side of the court in the inter-hotel division, third placed Radisson hotel edged no.8 Regency Hotel, 47-46 in a low scoring humdrum. Darrell opened scoring for Radisson’s campaign with double 2-pointer on the fly. Arthur Pamatmat and Eddie Solis weighed into the fray for a 28-16 second half run. Pamatmat scored seven points in the half including a three pointer. A third quarter rally was on the cards as Barba and Navarro partnered in their barrages on the Radisson hoop. The third and final rounds saw Radisson slow dow their pace as Regency stepped up, leading to a 30-19 score line for Regency at the close of the second half, a result that still had Radisson one point ahead at 47-46 at the buzzer.

Also in the inter-hotel league, Atong and Chovie scored 31 and 26 points apiece as no.1 Crowne Plaza hotel dominated the boards to halt Jumeirah hotel’s winning runs with a 101-93 victory to extend their record to 5-2 after the round robin stage.  Atong led the initial drive in the opening minutes with a 2-pointer that had Plaza taking an early 4-point lead and never trailed as they bolted to a 6-point advantage, 41-358 at the close of the first half. Atong, Chovie along with were instrumental in the Plaza early rampage on the Jumeirah hoop. But Jumeirah used a 7-point run in an attempt at stitching up the deficit in the third round, but consistent barrages from the Crowne Plaza trio rather widened the gap further to 8 points for the Farwaniya based hoteliers to finish the game at 101-93.

Updated Inter-Hotel Standings after first Round robin games:
Team    Win    Loss
Crowne Plaza    5    2
Movenpick Hotel    5    3
Hilton Resort    4    3
Radisson Hotel    4    3
Jumeirah Resort    4    3
Holiday Inn    4    4
Missoni Hotel    2    5
Regency Hotel    1    6

By Iddris Seidu
Arab Times Staff


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