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Basketball play-offs postponed to Monday

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 19,2015 - Last updated at Feb 19,2015

AMMAN — Match 4 of the Premier Basketball League play-offs will now be played on Monday instead of Friday after a public holiday was announced in anticipation of severe snowy conditions over the weekend.

The Jordan Basketball Federation (JBF) set the match for Monday and a deciding one for Wednesday if needed. A win for Orthodoxi will secure them the title while a defeat will give Ittihad the chance to fight for the title.

Ittihad beat Orthodoxi 82-76 in the last match slashing the latter’s lead to 3-2. Orthodoxi needed to win to take home the title, now the blizzard will lengthen their wait. So far, they beat Ittihad once in Round 2 and twice in the play-offs 79-69 and 71-69.

Ittihad beat Orthodoxi once in Round 2 and have had closely contested matches, but their task is still tough as they need to win two more matches to clinch the series. 

Orthodoxi last won the League title in 2011 ending a 10-year drought to take their record 22nd League title when they beat titleholders Applied Science University (ASU). 

Riyadi have secured third place this year after ASU withdrew from the competition. This year, it was a three-way fight for the title between ASU, Orthodoxi and Ittihad. However, a disputed call in the final minutes of the ASU-Orthodoxi Round 2 match with Orthodoxi leading 73-69 prompted head coach Murad Barakat to gain a technical foul for his unsportsmanlike gesture following which the team withdrew from the match and announced suspending the team. According to JBF regulations, the team’s withdrawal would mean competition rules would be applied, which includes fines and relegation to Division 1. 

ASU won the season’s first basketball competition when they beat Ittihad for the Jordan Cup title. Last season, ASU beat Ittihad to win the League for the second consecutive and fourth time in their record, while Riyadi won third place after beating Kulieh. Orthodoxi finished fifth.

Jalil took top position in the bottom four, who played a separate round to decide the two teams to be relegated. Jalil beat Ghazzet Hashem 100-93 (81-81) in OT and settled for fifth place while Ghazzet Hashem finished sixth leaving Nashama and Awdeh to be relegated. Nashama will now be back in the League if ASU are relegated.

The Premier Basketball League which started in 1952 has had 58 editions with eight teams crowned champions. It was cancelled in three seasons and discontinued once. Orthodoxi have won 22 times, Ahli 21, Zain-Fastlink six times, ASU four times, Jazira-Aramex twice, Urdun, Watany and the Electricity Co. once each. 

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