It doesn’t surprise me that F15 can still dominate
September 15, 2012 by Sydrick Salazar
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You can hate most of the Asian basketball players that Smart-Gilas will have to contend with but you always have to give praise to Fadi El-Khatib. Watching him play with the brush-up hair looking like a NCIS Middle East liaison is a mark out moment… if he is not playing the Philippines.
Dubbed as the Michael Jordan of Asia, he still brings it despite being 33 years old. As mentioned in my previous articles, I am more excited in players that have experience than youngsters who don’t know shit on how to cultivate their talent. However when Fadi was young, he’s probably one of those exceptional few. Joe Vogel, Jackson Vroman, and now Jarrid Famous and Garnett Thompson have reinforced Lebanon in their previous stints but the un-retired Fadi is still the driving force of the squad. He is to Lebanon what is Rashiem Wright to Jordan and Hamed Haddadi is to Iran.
Even in basketball forums there is no question that this Lebanon forward is well-respected. This is one of the reasons why the hype of Lebanon still surges even in this level. You can never discount the fact that Asians fear this team from the Fertile Crescent because Fadi El-Khatib is such a driving force. I remember seeing Fadi play when the PBA All-Stars faced the ABC All-Star selection in 2000. El-Khatib and his Lebanese partner Elli McHantaf joined the Taiwanese version of Vince Hizon Cheng Chih-Lung, Chinese superstars Gong Xiaobin and Zhu Dong, and then-Manila Metrostar Romel Adducul joined forces to take on former MVPs Alvin Patrimonio, Johnny Abarrientos, Eric Menk, and Kenneth Duremdes plus veterans composed of Danny Seigle, Andy Seigle, Danny Ildefonso, Marlou Aquino, Noy Castillo, Rodney Santos, Rudy Hatfield, and Bong Hawkins. The hosts dismantled the visitors 101 to 81 and it kinda set up Adducul’s PBA future.
In some ways I hoped players like Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava, Dondon Hontiveros, and Adducul enjoyed a rich FIBA career just like what El-Khatib had. I know for a fact that one of the reasons why Adducul wanted to play in the MBA is because the league is open for his international yearnings. Alapag, Taulava, and Hontiveros were feared in the international stage but sadly because of the PBA they can’t commit their time on such endeavor. I guess this is one of the reasons why Asi Taulava chose to play for the ABL – because in some ways the ABL is a weighed down version of the Philippine team (playing in the SEA Games).
El-Khatib couldn’t contain Lebanon’s loss against the Smart-Gilas squad in the second day of the 2012 FIBA-Asia Cup but you know for a fact that he will return with a vengeance. Like other great players, you can never stop a player of his caliber but you can absolutely contain him.
Hopefully the PBA will organize another PBA versus FIBA selection since both the Araneta and the MOA coliseums need to have some highlight if they want to host the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. It’s not a bad endeavor if you think about it because aside from its drawing power, it will open up great avenues in our return as a basketball power.