By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter

Gulf News, United Arab Emirates
May 25 2006

Dubai: Hosts Al Ahli Club, representing the UAE, waltzed their way
past Al Muharraq Bahrain 50-38, while Homenetmen, Leb-anon powered
their way to a 70-55 win against Orthodox Club, Jordan on the opening
day of the 13th Women's Arab Clubs Basketball Championship last night.

The week-long tournament was officially opened by Mohammad Salim
Suhail, assistant general secretary of the General Authority of Youth
and Sports Welfare (GAYSW).

With several expatriates in their ranks, Al Ahli has come out as the
most promising team at the end of the first day of this competition.

Led by the free-scoring Amelie Pochet and Emilija Poudriag and with
Eve Rose manning a solid defence, the home team looked impregnable
as they led 23-1 at the end of the opening 10 minutes.

Pochet scored seven points and Poudriag had six for the UAE side,
while the lone point for the visitors came from a free throw on the
hooter through Ginbelle Kari-Stutt.

In the second quarter, Al Ahli coach Hala Shahada got a chance to
test her bench strength, and that was the opportunity the Bahrainis
took willingly as they started getting their names on the scoreboard.

Leading the fightback was a gutsy Fatma Abbas as she ended the second
quarter with a personal tally of nine points, including a charity shot.

The home side continued playing with their second-string players,
and continued leading 44-24 at the end of the third quarter. It was
only late in the final quarter that all their main players entered
the court, but by then things were firmly within control of Al Ahli.

"They were too strong for us and they outplayed us in all departments
of the game," Al Muharraq coach Salman Ramadan Haji said.

Al Ahli coach Shahada was pleased with the opening win. "We hope we
can continue with this winning streak, especially in our second match
against defending champions Intra Nic tomorrow," Shahada said.

Earlier in the opening match, Homenetmen's foreign professional Jezabel
Ohanian came up with a personal tally of 29 points to lead the Lebanese
league runners-up to victory. Backing up the German-Armenian player
of the match were Sandra Atiq with 14 points and Caroline Jack with 12.

The Orthodox Club girls tried their best to salvage some pride and
managed to do so through Dina Nasser's 16 points, while Onua Kabani
and Dana Fuda contributed 11 points each.

"I think our girls will get better with every match. This is the
first time that we are playing with Jezabel, and she sure does have
her say in the way the match proceeds," remarked Homenetmen coach,
Jack Nalbandian.

The competition, being held under the patronage of Princess Haya
Bint Al Hussain, Wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of
Dubai, will conclude on June 1.


Homenetmen, Lebanon, bt Orthodox Club, Jordan 70-55; Al Ahli, UAE,
bt Al Muharraq, Bahrain, 50-38.

Today's games (from 5 pm): Al Wahda, Syria, vs Sulaimaniya, Iraq;
(7 pm) Sporting Club, Egypt, vs Olympic Club, Algeria; (9 pm) Intra
Nic, Lebanon, vs Al Ahli, UAE.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress