Fadi El Khatib scored a game-high 25 and Jackson Vroman accounted for 23 as hosts Lebanon kept passed through the Philippines with a 81-80 result, and enter the finals of the 3rd FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup on Saturday. Sunday’s final will witness Lebanon take on Japan. In the flurry of fouls and free-throws that followed, Lebanon held the ball more, thus earned more fouls and more importantly converted more of these free-throws and made the final.
Philippines had breathed hard on Lebanon’s neck for the better part of the first 15 minutes with leads changing hands like scrappy poker table. Vroman and El Khatib took charge of the proceedings when push came to shove and powered Lebanon ahead. El Khatib scored on the paint and Vroman effected a three-point play – assisted by Jean Abd El Nour on both occasions – to help Lebanon close the first half 49-45 ahead. The hosts never trailed after that, although their South East Asian rivals kept the pressure on the scoreboard.