Final (11:00 AM-12:00 PM) Sunday, Jun 22, 2008
  1 2 T
Nas (8-2-0) 11 19 30
Ma'un (9-1-0) 23 26 49

Ma置n uses experience and desire to dominate championship game Jun 25, 2008
by Zuhair Fancy  

The previous meeting between these teams saw Nas escape with a 44-42 win in overtime. Both teams came into this championship game on a roll and looking to accomplish their ultimate goal of a championship. Ma置n boasts experience in Adbur-Rehman Khan who has won a championship before as well as trio of quick guards who love to push the ball up court and play a pressure defense to create turnovers. Nas is a young team that may lack experience but has a multitude of weapons built around League MVP Khalid Deeb. Ma置n had their full roster present which meant only one substitute while Nas had everyone but Ahmed Almansouri which would be a big loss due to his strong play as of late. Nas seemed to be a bit overconfident during the pre-game as one of their players started to ask if the trophies had been engraved with their team name yet, while this type of confidence was a good sign, Nas still needed to come out strong.

The game started with Ma置n taking control early as they pushed the ball up the court and drove the lane hard. The result was Ma置n sitting on a 9-2 lead after five minutes of play and Nas on their heels. The aggressiveness of Ma置n was also helpful as they forced Nas centre Mahmood Qasim to pick up two quick fouls. Early on it was clear that Ma置n was up and ready for this game while Nas seemed flat and disorganized. Komail Rawjani picked off an errant pass and had a breakaway lay-up that he missed but Nas did not chase him down and allowed Raheel Rawjani to grab the rebound and get a put-back for an easy basket. Sensing that they were off to a horrible start and needed to get organized, Nas called a timeout with 13:46 left and trailing 13-2. Nas would need to protect the ball better and start getting Deeb involved in this game before Ma置n built an insurmountable lead.

Nas came out aggressively and it seemed to help as Ferhan Khan picked up his second foul with just under 13 minutes in the half, with a short bench any foul trouble for Ma置n was sure to spell disaster. With ten minutes to play in the half, Nas was starting to get on the same page and were now trailing by a 14-7 score. Yet the desire and hustle from Ma置n was hard to ignore as Abdul-Rehman Khan sprinted cross court to block a Zubair Qasim 3-point attempt. Nas seemed to lack this type of energy and hustle and that was clearly reflected in their play. Mahmood Qasim picked up his third foul with 6:55 left and was forced to the bench with his team down 19-9. Ma置n continued to play strong defense and limited the number of open shots Nas was getting and with five minutes left in the half, were leading 21-9. The problems for Nas compounded when Umair Jabbar seemed to injure his shoulder diving for a loose ball with 1:23 left. Despite their depth, Nas could ill-afford to lose one of its stronger guards if they were to have a hope of making this game close.

The half ended with Ma置n up 23-11 and they were led by Rihard Suler with 9 points and 5 rebounds while Raheel Rawjani added 7 points. Nas was led by Deeb with only 4 points. Ma置n seemed to be in total control of this game as they were protecting the ball and limiting their poor shots and turnovers. The same cannot be said for Nas who seemed to be lacking hustle and team chemistry on the court. The halftime stats showed that Ma置n was outrebounding Nas by a 14-5 margin which was allowing Ma置n to get easy put-backs as Nas was doing an extremely poor job of boxing out.

Nas was looking to maintain their lead during the second half and prevent Nas from getting any type of momentum that could get them back into this game. Nas seemed to get off to a good start when they got Ferhan Khan to pick up his third foul only a minute into the half. Yet despite this good start, Nas was unable to convert anything into baskets and the frustration was starting to show in their play. Raheel Rawjani was fouled on a shot attempt and Uzair Ansari of Nas was a bit too vocal in his displeasure with the call and managed to pick up a technical. The result was Ma置n getting four free throws, which Raheel Rawjani converted all four shots, and Ma置n retaining possession which helped them to build a 33-14 lead. Komail Rawjani hit a 3-pointer on Ma置n next possession to give them a 36-16 lead with 12:10 left and the game seemingly over. However, Nas put together an 8-0 run to make it a 36-24 game with 8:39 left giving them a slim chance to make a game of this. Yet just when Nas seemed to be gaining momentum, Ma置n went on a 6-0 capped by an 殿nd one play by Suler where he hit his free throw to make it 42-24 with 5:01 left. The lack of hustle from Nas was best demonstrated on an offensive possession where a Nas pass was deflected into the back-court and bouncing towards the sideline, Raheel Rawjani sprinted after it and was just a step short of saving the ball and getting a free lay-up; on this play not one Nas player went after the ball and just watched it roll away which seemed to be their game plan as they did not fight for any loose balls. Nas called a timeout with 3:44 left and down 45-24 just hoping to make the end of this game respectable as it was all but over. Ma置n just ate clock the rest of the way and won by a final score of 49-30.

Ma置n was led by Raheel Rawjani with 16 points and 6 rebounds while Suler added 14 points and 9 rebounds. Nas was led by Deeb with a quiet 13 points.

Nas will remain in Tier Two barring a shuffle of existing teams in Tier One. Last season their playoff run was ended by 3-pointer at the buzzer and this season they were humbled in the Championship game. Nas just seemed to lack the passion and experience when it counted the most which stopped them from taking the next step. However this is a solid team with a core of young players who will be a competitive threat as long as they remain together.

Ma置n will now automatically be promoted to Tier One which was their goal all season, they will need to add some depth to their bench as they will not be able to have a successful season with only six players.