Arakji leads Lebanon in World Cup qualifiers

Lebanon will march with full force when it battles Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Nouhan Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut on 25 August.

The FIBA Asia Cup silver medalists will parade their rock-solid 18-man roster in their bid to sustain their momentum and punch a seat to the prestigious World Cup next year.

FIBA Asia Cup Most Valuable Player Wael Arakji will banner the Cedars at home, joined by naturalized big man Jonathan Arledge, Ali Haidar, Hayk Gyokchyan and Sergio El Darwich.

Also joining the squad are gunners Karim Ezzedine, Ali Mezher, Karim Zeinoun, Elie Chamoun and holdovers Yousel Khayat, Gerard Hadidian and Ali Mansour.

The Jad El Hajj-mentored squad also got a major lift with the inclusion of former National Basketball Association cager Atok Major, youngsters Marc Khoueiry, Mousa Shouman, Aziz Abdel Massih, veterans Amir Saoud and Jad Khalil.

The Lebanese took the prestigious continental tourney by storm as they rampaged to a 5-0 record before bowing to eventual gold medalist Australia in the championship round.

The Cedars also blasted Gilas with Arakji firing 20 points to complete a 95-80 opening win over the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup group stage.

Lebanon also topped Group E in the first round of the qualifiers with a 3-1 record.

Aside from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia has also unveiled its pool for the upcoming tourney.

Playmaker Khalid Abdel Gabar will lead the visiting Saudis when they battle Gilas at home at the Mall of Asia Arena on 29 August.

Joining Gabar are big men Mohammed Almarwani, Mathna Almarwani, Fahad Belal, Marzouq Almuwallad, Nasi Abor Jalas, Musab Kadi, Ali Shubayli and Thamer Mohammad.

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