The playoffs started with this match-up between 4th seeded Kursi versus 5th seeded Ma置n. Kursi won the regular season meeting 55-43 but Ma置n was playing with only four regulars. This time Ma置n came with a full squad and was ready to go but Kursi痴 Zoohair Sardouk went as far as to guarantee a victory before tip-off.
|Kursi moves on as Ma置n fails to capitalize on chances
||Jun 20, 2006
The game started off slowly with Kursi trying to stall as leading scorer Allan Miller was late arriving to the game. When he finally arrived, Kursi used their timeout with 16:31 left in the half and down to get him into the game right away and their stalling tactic worked as they were only down 3-0. Ma置n seemed unfazed by Miller痴 entrance as they continued their strong start and after 7 minutes were up 10-0. Kursi continued to struggle and had missed their first six 3-point attempts until Miller hit a shot from downtown with 5:30 left. Miller hit another shot from beyond the arc and Ma置n was forced to call a timeout with 4:27 left and up 16-12. Sardouk provided some comic relief when he celebrated hitting a three pointer after missing his first five and being exposed for his weak defending. Ma置n continued to have problems protecting the ball and careless turnovers were converted by Kursi who closed the gap and when the half ended the game was tied at 21. Miller led all players with 12 points and was supported by Steve Selkirk with 6 points and 5 rebounds. Ma置n was led by Mike Jacobs with 7 points and 9 rebounds and got a boost from Sufian Hamid with 2 points and 6 rebounds.
The second half saw the teams continue to trade baskets as neither squad was able to break away and establish a lead. Kursi seemed to be tiring as the starters refused to sub off and get a breather. Ma置n called for a timeout with 5:05 left and up 39-38 in order to get reorganized. Kursi managed to tie the game at 40 with 2:40 left but missed their next shot which was rebounded by Jacobs who called for a timeout when Ma置n had already used theirs. Selkirk hit the free throw from the resulting technical and Kursi got the ball back where Selkirk posted up for a short jumper to give Kursi a 43-40 lead with 2:04 left. Ma置n got the ball back and set up a play for Deklon Roberts who was fouled while driving the lane with 59 seconds left. Roberts missed both free throws and was forced to foul Selkirk and put Roberts out of the game with five fouls. Selkirk hit both free throws for a 45-40 lead but Aamir Zafar quickly drained a long three with 40 seconds left for a 45-43 Kursi lead. Ma置n continued to foul to try and get the ball back but Kursi hit their free throws when it mattered and Ma置n was unable to hit a three pointer when they needed it in the final seconds.
Kursi escaped with a 50-45 win but could easily have lost had it not been for the careless turnovers by Ma置n and the request for a timeout with none remaining that changed it from a game tied at 40 and Ma置n possession to a 43-40 Kursi lead. Ma置n felt that the officiating hindered their chances to win but the foul calls were even through the game until Ma置n was forced to start fouling to get the ball back. Razak Sheikh also got some payback on his former Ma置n teammates who suspended him during the playoffs three seasons ago for conduct detrimental to the team.
Miller led all scorers with 26 points but the reason for Kursi痴 win was Selkirk who finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds but battled with Ma置n痴 Jacobs all game and played a strong defensive game. Beyond those two the rest of the Kursi players combined for 7 points which is something they cannot do again if they hope to go deep in the playoffs. For Ma置n, they got another strong game from Jacobs who finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds while Zafar finished with 12 points.
Ma置n will have a long summer to ponder another missed opportunity and many rumours have been swirling that they could fold now that captain Adil Daudi is leaving for school. They will need to dip into the free agent pool as their core group of players is still strong enough to compete in the league.
Kursi will move on to face Zilzal, a team that they beat during the regular season but Zilzal only had five players available and was missing the leagues leading scorer in Ammer Askary.