Final (3:30 PM-4:30 PM) Sunday, Jun 25, 2006
  1 2 O T
Nas (5-4-0) 25 25 5 55
Ikhlas (5-2-1) 23 27 6 56

Ikhlas wins overtime thriller over Nas Jun 28, 2006
by Zuhair Fancy  

Nas came into this game off the heels of an easy win over Falaq in the first round and knew that they would need some production from their guards as well as hold down the Ikhlas shooters defensively. Prior to tip-off Nas guard Farhan Baig guaranteed a victory and seemed extremely confident of his teams chances this day (going so far as to say that no matter the outcome he could be quoted in the recap).

Nas seemed to be feeling the same confidence as they came out flying in this game and built up an early 10 point lead. The aggressiveness of Nas seemed to catch Ikhlas off guard as Ibrahim Baig got many chances down around the basket. Sanel Sehic led Ikhlas back into the game with some hot shooting from outside as he hit 4 shots from three point land. When the first half ended it was Nas leading 25-23. Sehic finished with 16 points in the half while Nas was led by Ibrahim Baig with 8 points.

The second half started with Ikhlas quickly taking their first lead of the game after Jamshaid Hashmi fought for some tough points down low. Nas recognized that they needed an infusion of scoring at guard and brought in Rami Othman who started to drive the lane and create for his teammates. The lead continuously changed hands throughout much of the second half as the teams traded baskets. With both teams over the limit on fouls it was clear that free throw shooting would become key down the stretch. Farhan Baig hit a pair of free throws to give his team a 47-45 lead only to see Hashmi hit his free throws right after to tie the game up again. Ibrahim Baig got a chance at the line but only hit his first shot to give Nas a 48-47 lead. Mahmud Bashir got the ball on the wings and drained a three pointer for an Ikhlas 50-48 lead. On the next possession, Ibrahim Baig went back to the line for Nas and hit both his free throws to tie the game up at 50 with just over a minute left. Ikhlas turned the ball over after a miscommunication giving Nas the ball back with a minute left, Nas decided to hold onto the ball for the last shot and Ikhlas strangely did not defend closely at all allowing Nas to wind down the clock. Othman drove the lane with six seconds left but was met by Bashir who came up with a huge block with only 2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Overtime began with Ikhlas winning the jump ball but a careless pass was intercepted by Farhan Baig who coasted in for a free lay-up, yet with no defender near him he missed the lay-up and Ikhlas got the ball back where Sherif Shehata drained a long three to give Ikhlas a 53-50 lead. Camran Baig was fouled on the next Nas possession and hit both his free throws to make it a 53-52 game. Nas realized that they’d have to foul to prevent Ikhlas from running out the clock sent Bashir to the line in a single bonus situation; Bashir only hit the first free throw to make it a 54-52 Ikhlas lead. Ismail Kara grabbed the second miss and called a quick timeout to set up a play. Nas put the ball in the hands of Ibrahim Baig who was fouled and sent to the free throw line where he missed the first shot but hit the second to make it a 56-55 game. Ikhlas advanced the ball quickly and with 5 seconds left Bashir was fouled once again and sent to the line in a single bonus situation. Bashir missed the first free throw and Nas grabbed the rebound and was forced to advance the ball as they had no timeouts. A desperation three point shot from Nas did not go in and the final buzzer sounded allowing Ikhlas to escape with a 56-55 win.

Both teams had chances to pull away but poor 3-point shooting from Nas and poor free-throw shooting from Ikhlas helped to keep the game close. Ikhlas hit 7 of 20 3-point attempts compared to 2 for 13 for Nas. From the free throw line Nas shot 15 for 22 while Ikhlas was 7 for 16 from the line.

Ikhlas will now move on to play Asr in the semi-finals, Ikhlas won the regular season meeting 47-40 and will hope to make a return trip to the finals.