Dubai: Fast Link from Jordan and Mehram Club of Iran entered the semifinal of the 18th Dubai International Basketball tournament at the Maktoum bin Mohammad Indoor sports hall at the Al Ahli Club.
Fast Link survived a scare, thanks to a spirited performance from Blue Star of Lebanon to win 92-87 while Mehram subdued Academy Navy of Egypt 79-71.
Fast Link, who had topped Group B were surprised by the performance from Blue Star, which had finished last in Group A. So intense was the battle that the match went into extra time.
Fast Link players were on target from the start. Though Blue Star did not squander chances that came their way, Fast Link ended the first quarter with a 26-20 lead.
Although Fast Link blocked Blue Star's star player Danny Johnson, he still scored through three pointers to narrow the lead.
Blue Star encountered a set back when their top player El Khatib Fadi had to retire after a collision. Seeing Fast Link gain the lead, Fadi returned and through his good passes Blue Star equalled at 36. However, Fast Link, through sharp shooting led 41-39 at half time.
Blue Star's Fadi and Rony Fahed combined well to equal at 46. Fahed repeatedly scored three pointers and helped his team gain a 51-46 lead.
With 10 minutes to go Fast Link trailed by just one point (54-55).
The last quarter began with a three pointer from Fadi but Fast Link equalled at 60. Fast Link gained the lead through a three pointer from Adam Spendish.
Five minutes to go and with the score equal at 63, Spendish again scored a three pointer. Fast Link's tall Adam Pardha too scored repeatedly.
With one minute to go Blue Star's Danian Tandra equalled through a three pointer, resulting in the match going into extra time.
In the extra time, Spendish scored frequently to help Fast Link gain an 87-82 lead. They maintained the lead till the final whistle to win 92-87.
Earlier, Mehram scored a well-fought victory over Academy Navy. Mehram was in control from the start maintaining a good lead. By the end of the first quarter they led 21-15.
Academy Navy played very well before the half time and almost caught up with Mehram (38-35).
Though Academy managed to break the Mehram defence, they failed to score. Meanwhile, Mehram swelled the lead to 42-35.
Samad Nikkah of Mehram scored three pointers to extend the lead. Academy Navy went for the attack but in the process weakened their defence. Mehram scored comfortably through Jose Lloreda and Arde Pitts.
With ten minutes to go, Academy caught up at 57-53 with the aid of a number of free throws. Academic needed to score quickly and Islam Ali Hassan rose to the occasion. He scored a three pointed and broke the defence to reduce the gap.
With five minutes remaining for the final whistle, Mehram went for the kill. Capitalising on a few bad passes from Academy Navy, Mehram raced to a 70-56 lead.
Though Academic tried their best, Mehram raced to a 79-71 victory. On Monday night, Al Jala scored a nail-biting 85-84 victory over Blue Star while Al Riyadhi scored an easy 91-83 win over Al Mehram.
Quarterfinals: Mehram Club beat Academic Navy 79-71
Fast Link beat Blue Star 92-87
Round robin: Al Jala beat Blue Star 85-84.
Al Riyadhi beat Al Mehram 91-83.