Indian Hoopstar plan to defend well against ISC in final

Jay Asser 4/06/2015
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Unblemished record: Hoopstar.

Indian High School Dubai have steamrolled opponents en route to the Under-14 finals, where they’ll encounter the International School of Choueifat from Abu Dhabi.

– VIDEO: #NSL360 Basketball – Under-16 Semi Final Round-Up

– VIDEO: #NSL360 Basketball – Under-14 Semi Final Round-Up

– IHS Dubai and ISC Abu Dhabi set up NSL Under-14 final clash

IHS are one of only two teams in the age group, as well as the entire tournament, to finish the round robin stage with all five wins.

The other was New Filipino Private School, who Indian Hoopstar beat 42-38 in the quarter-finals.

“I watched [IHS] and they’re very, very good,” said ISC coach Stefanita Buzatu. “It will be very hard for us, but we will try.”

It would be easy to think that IHS haven’t truly been tested yet, but in addition to the close win against NFPS, they were arguably in the toughest group, which had four out of six schools finishing with a winning record.

“We’ve faced a lot of challenges,” IHS guard Lavesh said.

Lavesh has stood out in a team full of strong players, his 71 points ranking third in the age group.

He’s also in top form after shining in the semi-finals with 27 points to single-handedly outscore Delhi Private School Sharjah in the 50-25 win.

ISC have their own reliable ball-handler in Khalifa Khouri, who scored 15 points and earned player of the game honours in the semi-finals, along with a big man tandem of Kareem Eid and Gohar Hussain in the frontcourt.

Buzatu was pleased to see his players function as more than just individual parts in the 27-13 win over Dubai College last week and believes his team have already 
accomplished much in reaching this stage, no matter the result against IHS.

HOW THEY WEIGH UP

Indian Hoopstar

Strengths

– Talent roster

– Guard play

Weaknesses

– Outside shooting

Key players

Lavesh: 71 points, 17 steals, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks

Lavesh.

Tahir: 55 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 blocks

Rohan: 40 points, 37 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 blocks, 3 steals

ISC Abu Dhabi

Strengths

– Rebounding

– Defence

Weaknesses

– Outside shooting

– Lack of depth

Key players

Khalifa Khouri55 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, 8 steals, 1 block

Kareem Eid: 36 points, 67 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, 3 blocks

Eid.

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VISS have height advantage but NFPS bank on defence in title clash

Jay Asser 4/06/2015
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Intra-Emirate rivalry: VISS (white) and NFPS..

A rematch from group play will decide the NSL Under-16 champions as Victoria International School Sharjah look for a different outcome this time against New Filipino Private School.

– VIDEO: #NSL360 Basketball – Under-16 Semi Final Round-Up

– VIDEO: #NSL360 Basketball – Under-14 Semi Final Round-Up

– IHS Dubai and ISC Abu Dhabi set up NSL Under-14 final clash

Boasting size and height, especially in the form of dominant centre Hashim Hazeem, VISS appear the favourites on paper against the smaller roster of NFPS.

However, there’s more to the Patriots than meets the eye and they’ve already taken down the giants once with a 32-23 win during group play to hand VISS one of their two losses so far.

“They will be ready for us,” VISS coach Russell McKie said. “They know they’re going to be up against a battle of height. That’s how they went into the game when they first played us. We didn’t utilise our height to our strength or any of our advantages in that last game. We’ve obviously got better, as I’m sure they’ve got better as well, so it’s a tough one to call.”

The strength of NFPS lies in their ball-swarming defence. In their semi-final match-up against Dubai International Academy, the Patriots shut down the Wolves’ attack and forced countless turnovers with a full-court trap.

VISS won’t be as vulnerable with their cast of ball-handlers, including dynamic point guard Enver Kapetanovik, but NFPS are planning to apply pressure all the same.

“If our opponent is not good at ball-handling and not good in passing, we will beat them,” NFPS coach Aris Peralta said.

“But if they are good at ball-handling and have a good centre or forward, then we’ll be in danger.”

VISS do have a centre in Hazeem who will pose a daunting challenge for NFPS. The big man has been a force in the paint throughout the tournament, notching 79 points, a league-high 62 rebounds and 13 blocks.

NFPS though are a long way past fearing their lack of height, with Eric Pancito – the player of the game in the semi-finals with 17 points – admitting his team initially “lost our hope to win” because of the disadvantage, before gaining full confidence.

Regardless of the outcome, Sharjah will reign supreme over Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the age category, which McKie feels isn’t a surprise.

“Look at it, it’s two Sharjah teams in the final,” he said. “That’s an even bigger accolade and shows you how tough the Sharjah leagues are. 

“The Dubai schools often get the bigger press, the bigger accolades for where they are.

"Sharjah doesn’t always get that. Now you’ve seen it on the court. Two Sharjah teams. It will be an interesting final.”

HOW THEY WEIGH UP

Under-16

VISS

Strengths

– Scoring in the paint

– Rim protection

Weaknesses

– Outside shooting

– Perimeter defence

Key players

Hashim Hazeem79 points, 62 rebounds, 13 blocks, 5 assists,2 steals

Hazeem.

Ahmed Abdulle: 73 points, 22 rebounds, 14 steals, 8 assists, 1 block

Enver Kapetanovik16 points in semi-finals

NFPS Patriots

Strengths

– Pressure defence

– Guard play

Weaknesses

– Lack of size

– Rim protection

Key players

Eric Pancito: 59 points, 10 assists, 8 steals, 5 rebounds

Pancito.

Jeff Ryan Bustos: 64 points, 23 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals, 1 block

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#NSL360 Basketball - Under-16 Semi Final Round-Up

drewc 2/06/2015
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Sport360 brings you all the action from the Under-16 National School League Basketball semi-finals held at Victoria International School Sharjah.

The NSL FInals take place on Saturday 6th June – click here for more information.







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