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Basketball league enters decisive stage

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 10,2015 - Last updated at Jan 10,2015

AMMAN — The Premier Basketball League is scheduled to enter a decisive stage on Sunday when Orthodoxi face titleholders Applied Science University (ASU) while Riyadi play Ittihad.

So far in the second round, Orthodoxi are unbeaten after they scored two wins over Riyadi 97-85 and Ittihad 90-82. Ittihad beat ASU 99-91, ASU beat Riyadi 83-64. Riyadi have not won any games.

The top two teams will advance to the best-of-five finals for the title, while the third and fourth will play the best-of-three play-offs for third place.

The top four advanced to the current round after the preliminary stage ended with ASU in the lead, followed by Orthodoxi, Riyadi and Ittihad.

The bottom four are playing a round of their own to decide the two teams to be relegated. They include Jalil and Gazzet Hashem leading Nashama and Awdeh.

The season’s first basketball competition was won by ASU, who beat Ittihad Schools for the Jordan Cup title. The knockout competition saw Ittihad oust Riyadi 78-77 in the semis as ASU ousted Orthodoxi 92-65.

The Jordan Cup has seen Riyadi win in 2002, 2011 and 2012, Fastlink took the title for four consecutive seasons (2003-2006) , Orthodoxi in 2007, Zain in 2008, ASU in 2010,  2013 and 2014.

Observers have pointed out to a regression that negatively affected the basketball scene in the past few years and hope players and fans will return to the courts and help bring the zeal of competition to Jordan’s second most popular sport.

Last season, ASU beat Ittihad to win the Premier Basketball League for the second consecutive and fourth time in their record, while Riyadi won third place after beating Kulieh. Orthodoxi finished fifth.

In 2011, Orthodoxi ended a 10-year drought and won their record 22nd league title when they beat titleholders ASU. 

The league which started in 1952 has had 58 editions with eight teams crowned champion. It was cancelled in three seasons and discontinued once. Orthodoxi have won 22 times, Ahli 21, Zain (Fastlink) six times, ASU four times, Jazira  (Aramex) twice, Urdun, Watany and the Electricity Company once each.

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