BEIRUT: The Lebanese volleyball championship final series will begin Saturday with defending champions Al-Anwar up against historic rivals SC Bauchrieh. It is the first time the sides will meet since Anwar suffered defeat in the Lebanese cup two weeks ago.
Al-Anwar are the favorites to retain the title as their players are more familiar with final games – having dominated the league in the last two years with no major competition. Despite that, their Metn rivals have lately shown potential to overcome Al-Anwar, especially after the arrival of Alain Saade – who has been playing in the Belgium league for the last two years.
He was the top scorer in their league this season before returning to Lebanon for the playoffs.
“The league is just different than the cup competition, but obviously, we are entering the final series with a great moral as we look for gold, and we will hopefully clinch it at the end,” said Bauchrieh president Cesar Bakhos.
He added: “Al-Anwar had an easy ride to the finals [beating Blat club 3-0], while we had a tight series against Al-Zahraa [winning it 3-1]. I think we were lucky to end the series without a decisive match because they are really strong.”
Anwar will be depending, as usual, on their team captain Libero Wissam El Hosri, as well as outside hitter Joseph Abi Nohra, middle hitter Jean Abi Chedid and opposite hitter Nader Fares.
Meanwhile, Baouchrieh who haven’t won a league title in almost 15 years, will be depending on the strong hits of Saade, and the good sets of Hungarian Zlai Wehsen and Serbian Milos.
“His [Alain Saade] presence has added depth to our roster. Our players are now more confident especially after we won the cup. Personally, I expect our team to end the series 3-1 because we are really hungry to come back to the podium,” said Bakhos.
It’s worth noting that the team who wins three games out of five will be crowned champions.
In the last three years, Al-Anwar have defeated Bauchrieh 13 times, while Bauchrieh have only beaten their rivals four times.