*** ----> Manama WASL title defence set | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Manama WASL title defence set

TDT | Manama    

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Reigning champions Manama were yesterday drawn in a tough Group B for the preliminary round of the Gulf sub-zone in the highly anticipated second season of the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL).

The draw for the hugely popular regional competition took place virtually yesterday from Beirut. The tournament will bring together a total of 18 teams, consisting of 13 champions and five runners-up from domestic leagues of the Gulf, West, South, and Central Asia Sub-Zones.

Manama are one of two Bahraini teams competing in the new WASL campaign. Muharraq are the other. Manama are in Group B of the Gulf sub-zone along with Kazma of Kuwait, Shabab Al Ahli of the UAE and Al Shamal from Qatar.

Muharraq, on the other hand, who are making their debut in the tournament, are in Group A alongside Al Ahli Jeddah of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait SC of Kuwait and Al Rayyan of Qatar.

Manama became the first-ever FIBA WASL champions in June after defeating Kuwait 67-59 in the gold medal game of the FIBA WASL Final Eight, held in Dubai. The competition’s second season is currently scheduled for a 16 October tip-off.

The competition format will remain the same from the inaugural campaign, with the three best teams at the end of the WASL Gulf sub-zone and the WASL West Asia sub-zone leagues earning their tickets to the Final Eight.

Joining the six will be the champion teams from South Asia and Central Asia, and they will all vie for the right to become cage kings of the region. Prior to the Final Eight, each sub-zone league will feature two groups of four teams, with the top seed by the end of the round-robin opening phase directly qualifying to the best-of-three semi-finals.

The second and third-ranked teams will play for the other final four berth, also in a best-of-three. Following yesterday’s draw, the WASL West Asia sub-zone features Shahrdari Gorgan of Iran, Al Naft of Iraq, Al Ittihad Ahli of Aleppo from Syria and Dynamo of Lebanon in Group A; while Group B includes Al Riyadi of Lebanon, Al Ahli Amman of Jordan, Al Wahda of Syria and Orthodox Be it Sa hour from Palestine.

Riyadi and Gorgan faced off in last season’s West Asia finals, with the Lebanese taking the subzone title after sweeping their opponents in two games.