Power Rankings

RANK TEAM / RECORD CHANGE COMMENTS
1
Dhaka
Dhaka
5-1
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LAST WK: 1

Bounced back after their first loss of the season against a very good Alexandria squad. Held the Masri brothers to 9 total points, and if it wasn’t for Hasan’s 19 points, this game would have decided by much more than 4. Good news is Fahad is back and Ali returned after serving his one-game suspension. Bad news is that they continue to struggle shooting the ball, just connecting on 18 of 50 field goal attempts, while missing 15 of 18 attempts from deep. Fortunately for them, they out rebounded Alexandria significantly, limiting their opponent’s possessions. They are still up and above the other 15 teams in this league, but they will need to knock down more shots if they look to repeat. They’ll be playing Mecca this week, don’t expect Anas Zubi to have another quiet game. It will take all five guys on the floor to stop the potent Mecca attack.

2
Mombasa
Mombasa
5-1
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LAST WK: 2

44 points may not be enough to beat Mecca, but when you hold Anas Zubi to 11 points (yes, eleven), you have a very good chance of edging them out. In what was a much worse shooting game than I anticipated, Mombasa shot 42.5%, but struggled from beyond the arc. They got outrebounded, but their execution in the half court eliminated Mecca’s ability to run. Between Sadat, Raza, and even Weiss, they find ways to get open baskets under the rim. If there was a stat for hockey assists, I have no double that Sadat and Mombasa would lead the league. Gurj is often the beneficiary of their terrific passing, but he struggled more than the 6-11 stat line would lead one to believe. It was not pretty, but hats off to Mombasa for beating a team who wanted to bounce back after a bad loss last week. Things will not be any easier next week, as they face the league’s hottest team, Kazan.

3
Lahore
Lahore
4-2
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LAST WK: 3

Anwar followed up his 18 point performance with a season high of 20. It was not the cleanest of games, but that happens when your point guard is not able to make it. Last week seemed like it was the game that made Lahore just click. They followed it with a solid game from Anwar and Waqas, without the third member of the big three, Bilal. Lahore is trending is the right direction, this team will go wherever Anwar takes them. He’s reinserted himself into the MVP conversation, and once again must be mentioned when speaking of the best offensive players in this league. They face Sana’a next week in a game that features some very solid individual offensive talent – they’ll need to have a sound game on both ends of the floor.

4
Alexandria
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LAST WK: 4

Tough to get on a team for losing to Dhaka. They put up a very solid fight after going down in the first half. The Masri brother’s need to bring some more consistency for Alexandria to be considered a contender, but getting solid contributions from role players is also a major key for success in this league. Timely 19 point game for Hasan, who gave Alexandria a shot. Unfortunately, some major rainstorms along the Mediterranean cooled off their hot shooting. They really need to find a way to improve their rebounding – they average the second least rebounds and have been outrebounded in all 6 games they’ve played. This can and will be their Achilles heel if they do not tighten up on the glass.

5
Jakarta
Jakarta
3-3
4
LAST WK: 9

They are a defensive powerhouse – nothing more, nothing less. We all know what great defenses win. They have played tremendous defense all season long, but are starting to get some offensive production. They are not ranked fifth because of what they have done so far – Jakarta is a .500 team who has a terrible loss to Fez under their belt, but they are improving at an exponential rate. This team can beat anyone in this league because they have become very, very sound defensively AND have gotten the necessary offensive production to complement a terrific defense. There was one extremely impressive stretch in the second half where the Abbassi brothers both hit 3s, Shareef hit an 18-footer, and they got one more basket (cannot recall who it was) – and that was all she wrote for Amman. They held Jawad and Moayad to 15 points combined, a number both of which can put up individually in just a half of basketball. They succumbed 14 rebounds to Omar Mana, but did a terrific

6
Istanbul
1
LAST WK: 7

They were missing two of their top three players and still found a way to win a game with dominance. They were down early, tied it up going into halftime, and never looked back. Mahmoud carried the load offensively while Taha added 8. Both these guys have shown that they can be essential pieces to the offense. Along with Adam, Istanbul is a solid offensive team that owns the glass. They need to play some better defense if they have high aspirations.

7
Amman
Amman
3-3
2
LAST WK: 5

The more I watch the team, the less I understand why they struggle. They have premier offensive talent, arguably the best big man in the league, and some support off the bench. After his breakout performance last week, I had high hopes for Jawad to match the performance and exploit Jakarta’s defense. Unfortunately for Amman, they did not exploit any facet of Jakarta’s game and they themselves were exploited. They have very poor ball movement, Moayad insists on attacking one on three, and overall, they just have very poor body language. They had many chances to win this game, but they let it slip away and never fought back for it. They have a young team, so inconsistency may be expected, but they’ll need to play a solid game if they hope to get back in the win column next week.

8
Sana'a
Sana'a
3-3
3
LAST WK: 11

A tale of two halves. They started off the game slow, flustered, and startled by Granada’s aggressiveness. They were able to settle down during half time and force a couple turnovers to eliminate the halftime deficit. Their shooting stats were not impressive, but if we could see just the second half stats, they would be eye opening. After a quiet half for Raied and Mo, they both became far more aggressive in the second half. Another double double for Mo, but his impact was felt more on the defensive side where he was able to contain Shadi. Their defense will be tested again when they face Lahore, a team that can end a game in the blink of an eye. Sana’a will need to play a full forty minutes if they look to improve to over .500 for the first time since week 1.

9
Granada
Granada
3-3
3
LAST WK: 6

Granada giveth, Granada taketh. They played a solid first half, but then relinquished all their momentum early in the second half. Turnovers will allow your opponent back into the game and they learned the hard way. Shadi needs to find a way to assert himself, whether it is through offensive sets or rebounds, but he has to take it upon himself to dominate. Sana’a does not have a legitimate big, this was a chance for Shadi to take over. It did not happen, but they will need him to have a huge game next week against Omar Mana and his Amman squad.

10
Mecca
Mecca
3-3
2
LAST WK: 8

When you have such a dominant scorer (Anas Zubi) it makes it easier for everyone else to play offense. When that scorer is not having a good game, it makes it difficult for everyone else to find a rhythm. Another very bad shooting game from Billal, add that to an uncharacteristically low 11 points from Anas, and you have a recipe for disaster. Besides Anas, no one was able to score double digits. After a dominant start to the season from Ammar, he just hasn’t gotten the touches he needs in order to be effective on the block - they’re a better offense when Ammar has the ball in his hands. Mombasa was able to keep Anas from scoring without fouling, which has proven to be the recipe to stop the high-powered Mecca attack. Things do not get any easier – they take on the defending champs.

11
Kazan
Kazan
4-2
1
LAST WK: 10

Eked out a win against a one-win Suba squad. Not the best way to beat a bottom two team, but a win is a win. Mark has been a very underrated scorer on a very underrated team. He’s 6th in the league in PPG, averaging 15.3 per contest. We’ll learn a significant amount about this team in the coming weeks – they take on Mombasa and end the season with Dhaka.

12
Baghdad
Baghdad
2-4
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LAST WK: 12

Lost due to forfeit. They take on Jakarta this week, in one of the more underrated games of the week. They matchup well against Jakarta – Baghdad likes to play slow and execute in the half court, while Jakarta likes turning fast teams into slow teams. Maybe the slowed pace of play will play into Baghdad’s hands.

13
Damascus
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LAST WK: 13

Played well in the first half, could not maintain it for twenty more minutes. Someone needs to step up (looking at you Hosam) and take control of the offense. It is far to frantic and inconsistent to win them games. They should not get discouraged though, they have a winnable game against Fez coming up.

14
Fez
Fez
2-4
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LAST WK: 14

Won by forfeit. Other than somehow beating Jakarta (still do not understand how), they have been run off the court in 3 of their first 5 games. Lucky for them, Baghdad did not show up, so they were able to get a win without having to actually play the game.

15
Suba
Suba
1-5
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LAST WK: 15

They have been playing teams tough all season long (except for that 31 point loss to Sana’a week 4). They need to find a way to turn close games into wins, or else they’ll end the season with very few wins. They do have three winnable games left, if they can grab them and move up in the rankings, they could possibly get a favorable matchup in round one.

16
Tehran
Tehran
1-5
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LAST WK: 16

Not a bad loss, they challenged a very good Lahore team. This game was not as close at the score may tell, but they found a way to compete. They have 3 of the top 6 teams left on their schedule. It will be tough sledding if they keep playing the way they have been.


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