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FIBA: Lebanon is led by Amir Saoud against the Philippines

Feb 23, 2023

In the sixth round of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Lebanon’s team will face the Philippines without Wael Arakji. AMIR Saoud will be their goaltender.

Lebanon Ultimate 12 versus Gilas

Saoud is leading a squad without some of its famous players, including Fiba Asia Cup MVP Arakji, in his capacity as captain.

Sergio El Darwich, Hayk Gyokchyan, Gerard Hadidian, Jean Marc Jarrouj, Jad Khalil, Marc Khoueiry, Ali Mansour, Ali Mezher, Naim Rabay, Gabriel Salibi, and Karim Zeinoun are also among the last 12, according to a Fiba social media post.

Lebanon defeated the Philippines 85-81 during the August window in Beirut, but only half of the team was present.

Ali Haidar, who was Lebanon’s second-leading scorer after Arakji with 16.8 points per game, will also not be participating in the game. With 6.4 per game in the qualifiers, Haidar is also the Cedars’ top rebounder.

Saoud, the second-highest scorer after Arakji (24) in the Cedars’ victory over Gilas with 17 points, will continue to be on the team.

El Darwich, who is playing in his second straight window and has six games under his belt, averages 11.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for Lebanon.

Wael Arakji will not play for Lebanon. Arakji was absent from the team photographs of the Lebanon team that traveled to Manila to compete in Window 6 of the qualifications that the Lebanese Basketball Federation shared on its Facebook page.

Arakji was a member of the initial 24-man pool Lebanon sent to Fiba and was later named the Fiba Asia Cup MVP after leading Lebanon to the title.

Arakji was a pain in Gilas’ side during their previous match, which Lebanon won 85-81 at home in Beirut last August thanks in large part to clutch shots he made.

Lebanon has a 7-1 win-loss record and has already qualified for the World Cup. With games remaining against Gilas Philippines and New Zealand, Lebanon will try to finish first in Group E.

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