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Basketball play-offs to be decided Friday

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 29,2015 - Last updated at Jan 29,2015

AMMAN — Round 2 of the Premier Basketball League ends on Friday deciding the ranking of teams and the eventual winner of the Kingdom’s second most popular sport.

Former champs Orthodoxi lead the standings by a slim one point. The team played all Round 2 matches with an unbeaten record until they lost to Ittihad 86-73 this week leaving the fight for the title wide open between the top three teams. Titleholders Applied Science University (ASU) beat Riyadi 102-82 and are now third.

Orthodoxi will next play titleholders ASU and they need to win to move to the final play-offs, otherwise a win for ASU and Ittihad means point difference will be a decider after Orthodoxi beat Riyadi and ASU overcame Ittihad last weekend. 

The results of the last stage on Friday will be crucial for the top three teams with the top two teams advancing 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. Results of the two stages in the current Round 2 will be credited to their final play-offs.

In the first stage, Orthodoxi beat Riyadi, Ittihad and ASU; Ittihad upset ASU and Riyadi; and ASU managed to beat Riyadi, who played hard-fought matches and remained winless. 

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

On the other hand, Jalil took the top position in the bottom four, who played a separate round, to decide the two teams to be relegated. Jalil went to overtime to beat Ghazzet Hashem 100-93 (81-81) and settled for fifth place, while Ghazzet Hasehm finished sixth, leaving Nashama and Awdeh to be relegated.

ASU won the season’s first basketball competition when they beat Ittihad 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 won four consecutive seasons 2003-2006, Orthodoxi in 2007, Zain in 2008 and ASU in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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.

Orthodoxi last won the title in 2011 ending a 10-year drought to take home their record 22nd League title when they beat titleholders ASU. 

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