AS expected, Libya’s adventure in the 9th Arab Basketball Champion-ship’s currently being held in Morocco (July 16-26) was halted when they were eliminated from the tournament at the quarterfinal stage by Egypt. The Pharaohs beat Libya 84-54 to proceed to the semi-finals with a 100 per cent record.
Egypt, still unbeaten, will now meet Syria in the last four while Tunisia, also unbeaten from six matches after beating Kuwait 99-57 will take on Morocco.
Libya’s elimination was not surprising as with Tunisia, Egypt are proving to be the strongest contenders for the championship.
So Libya ends its participation with a record of three wins and three defeats, having achieved its victories in the group stage over Syria, Lebanon and UAE. The defeats in Group A were against Tunisia and Algeria.
In their quarterfinal encounter Libya found the Egyptians a tough opposition as the Pharaohs controlled the rhythm of the game from the very beginning. Libya tried to get going but found the a very strong defence, though running up a creditable score of 54 points.
But Egypt managed to control the game without too many problems and in the end were full value for their 30-point advantage.
It is worth mentioning that one of the semi-finalists, Syria, who eliminated Saudi Arabia 83-73 in the quarters, were 87-91 losers when they faced Libya in the group stage. That was one of Libya’s best matches in a very encouraging start to the championships in which Libya had two straight wins.
Libya started these championships that could serve them well in view of the forthcoming African Basketball Championships it will be hosting next month with a well-deserved overtime victory in the opening match against Syria.
It was the Syrians who played the better basketball at the outset and ended the first quarter, 20-16 ahead. They even increased this lead to nine points half way through, 43-34.
But Libya reacted strongly in the last two periods to level the score at 77-all by the end of normal time and force extra time, which saw them at their very best as they won by 91-87.
Libya, drawn in a group made up of Algeria, Lebanon, Syria and UAE, faced Lebanon in their second match. They were by far the stronger of the two teams, dominated throughout and easily won 78-46.
But Libya were then outclassed by Tunisia who beat them 84-48 and suffered another loss against Algeria by 70-51. This was a disappointing finish. After a well balanced first quarter Algeria drastically improved and led by eight points at half time.
Libya could not find their shooting power as Algeria intensified their efforts in the second half of the game, which they dominated, opening up a comfortable 22-point lead to make the lat 10 minutes a formality.
Against Tunisia Libya offered little or no resistance and it was no surprise that our neighbours managed an easy success with a 36-point advantage (84-4) in the end.
Libya then regrouped in the game against UAE and obtained their third victory in the tournament, 75-63.
The UAE started well by building an 18-16 lead and the Libyans looked as if they could slip another time, but eventually things turned out for the better and by the end built a good enough advantage that they sustained.
Group B was Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen.