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Riyadi reach Dubai Tournament semis

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 15,2013 - Last updated at Jan 15,2013

AMMAN — Riyadi Aramex have reached the semifinals of the 24th Dubai International Tournament after an impressive first round at the tournament.

Playing in Group B, Riyadi beat Ahli Dubai 67-64, lost 81-67 to Lebanon’s Muttahed after a 20-point lead, but came back to beat Philippines’ Smart Gilas 75-65 to move directly to the semis after Kazakhstan’s Almati pulled out of the event.

In the quarters starting Wednesday, Lebanon’s Muttahed will play compatriot Riyadi Beirut, while Smart Gilas take on Lebanon’s Hikmeh (Sagesse) and UAE’s national team go up against Ahli Dubai.

Riyadi will face the winner of the Smart Gilas vs. Hikmeh match on Friday.

“We have the youngest team, probably the smallest budget, but biggest hearts playing for the love of the game,” Riyadi Secretary General Fadi Sabbah told The Jordan Times. “We are happy with what we have achieved and look forward to a very bright future.”

Before leaving to Dubai, Riyadi played three friendlies, beating Orthodoxi 92-70, 94-77 and Applied Science University (ASU) 73-62.

Riyadi beat ASU 80-79 to win the 10th Jordan Basketball Cup for the second consecutive year. Sabbah had noted the Dubai event would be “a good competition for the line-up ahead of the Premier League”.

Jordanian teams have never won the Dubai Tournament title. Riyadi first competed in 1990. Jordan’s Fastlink came in third in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Zain came in second in 2008 and 2009 and were eliminated from the quarters in 2010 when ASU also took part. No Jordanian teams took part in 2011.

Riyadi have signed Darin Dorsey, Alpha Bangura and Ashraff Dabbas and will have Sani Sakakini join as well for the local league.

Riyadi’s rising star, Ahmad Duweiri, who led the team to the U-19 title, has boosted the line-up with the return of Seif Amer leading the ambitious line-up along with Ali Jamal, Mohammad Jamal and Isa Kamel.

This season, Riyadi came second in the U-13 and U-17 boys and U-15 girls. They are currently playing the women’s league and U-15 boys matches.

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