05/07/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/07/2019 03:02
MANAMA (Bahrain) - The qualified teams from the GBA region to Round one of the Road to Final 8 - West Asia will be Al-Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai (UAE), Al-Muharraq (BHR), and Al-Shamal (QAT). The qualifying spots for each respective nation were secured at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2019 GBA Qualifiers. Each respective club claimed their spot as representatives of their nations by being the crowned champions of their domestic leagues.
The results of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2019 GBA Qualifiers saw Sharjah (UAE), Al-Manama (BHR), and Al-Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai (UAE) claim the top three spots, in that order. This qualified one spot each from UAE and Bahrain to Round one of the Road to Final 8 - West Asia. Since only one club will represent a country, the third qualifying spot went to Qatar who had Al Shamal finish at 4th place at the GBA Qualifiers.
Al-Shabab Al-Ahli (UAE) qualified as the champions of the domestic UAE National Basketball League which they won on March 25, 2019. The UAE champions finished the regular season with a 16-2 record to get the second seed in the playoffs before going all the way to beat Al Naser in the finals. The title win was the 6th straight for Shabab Al-Ahli, continuing the team's dominant reign in the league.
The UAE champions are no strangers to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, having qualified for both the 2016 and 2017 renditions of the tournament. Powered by brilliant performances of Sam young and Omar Qais Alshababi, Shabab Al-Ahli finished as high as 4th place back in 2016.
Al-Muharraq will be the representative club from Bahrain at Round one of the Road to Final 8 - West Asia, by virtue of their title victory in the Bahrain Premier League. Muharraq were one of the stronger teams throughout the entire season and after eliminating Al-Ahli in the semifinals, went on to sweep Al-RIffa in the finals. Their opponents put up a close fight in each of the three games, losing each contest by no more than 5 points, but it wasn't enough to take down Al-Muharraq. The Bahraini champions were led by Finals MVP Ahmed Aldurazi and Best Foreign Player Mike Harris.
Al-Muharraq has three appearances at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in 2003, 2007, and 2008. Their most recent run in 2008 saw them claim victories over ONGC (IND) and Al-Qadsia (KUW).
Al-Shamal's run at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2019 GBA Qualifiers secured themselves a spot at the Road to Final 8 - West Asia.
On March 9, Al- Shamal successfully claimed the Qatar Men's League basketball tournament by slightly edging Al-Arabi 80-77 in the championship game. Shamal were anchored by Algerian center Mohamed Harat along with Qatar national team guard Mansour Elhadary on their way to a 12-4 regular season record and a league championship.
This will be an opportunity for Al-Shamal to make their first appearance at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup should they continue to qualify onwards to the Final 8 round. If ever, they would have a chance to extend the vast amount of success that fellow Qatar club, Al Rayyan, had accumulated in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. As a nation, Qatar are one of only 5 countries to have multiple FIBA Asia Champions Cup titles and are tied for the most top-3 finishes with 11 in total.