Dubai: Khalifa Salem top-scored with 28 points to help East get past South 94-86 in the final of the Jazzville All-Star Basketball Tournament that concluded at the Jumeirah Baccalaureate School’s (JBS) indoor courts earlier this week.
Salem’s contribution also handed him the Most Valuable Player (MVP), but that could not help him feature in the Jazzville All-Star Five that included teammates Archie Cruz and Leo Roncal.
Coached by Rolan Carpi, the East was served by their sharpshooters and defensive guards with UAE national team player Salem proving to be the pick of the lot. They were further bolstered with the presence of defensive shooter Booker, three-points specialist Archie Cruz and defensive star Romel Caberte.
Played before a full audience of vociferous fans, the first two quarters were tightly-matched with the lead changing hands all the time. It was in the third period that the match came alive as East took a comfortable 13-point lead. But South rallied well to draw level leaving the final quarter all to fight for.
That was when Salem came in handy as most of his three-pointers started finding the target, while Arnold Booker played the perfect foil. After gaining a slight edge over South, the East side clamped down in their defence to run away easy winners by seven points. Cris Elopre did well for South with 19 points.
Organised by the Jazzville Basketball League (JBL), the annual event was conceptualised through a draft of 48 top-level players from across the UAE. These players were divided into four teams, namely North, South, East and West.
The elimination rounds were intense with South and East qualifying with identical 2-1 win/loss records for last week’s grand final.
Titan Energy Drink was the main sponsor along with other sponsors such as GTR Recording Studio, LBC, Souqpinoy.com, MediaCom, Prime Healthcare Hospital, ShareTea, Agemono International Buffet, Al Islami Foods LLC and Club of Asia.
Regular Season MVP: Arnold Booker (East) Average of 15 pts per game
Finals MVP: Khalifa Salem 28 pts
Jazzville All-Star Five: Archie Cruz (East); Leo Roncal (East); Wang Alvarez (South); Christopher Guerrero (South); Cris Elopre (South).