Archive for the ‘The Good’ Category


Finally!

It’s been 20 days, but I had been going through a lot regarding a death in the family and getting ready to come back to AUB. So I apologize for the long absence.

But now…

I’M BACK!

A quick summary of what I was planning on blogging about but never got the chance to do so:

FIBA World Championship 2010: The semifinals took place on the day before last, with USA crushing Lithuania behind Kevin Durant’s stunning play, while Turkey beat Serbia in easily what was known as the Game of the Cup as it ended on the last few seconds. The final was played in front of a full house, but the hosts Turkey were unable to finish their amazing run in the World Cup, as they lost a well deserved decision to the U.S.A 81-64, with Kevin Durant taking over and giving back the long awaited World Cup back to the Americans, who haven’t won it since 1994.

10th Arab National Championship: After playing in multiple tournaments throughout the summer, Lebanon had to host one more, and despite the wear and tear, made an amazing run to reach the final. But it lost focus and luck at the end, and was unable to to pull it off, losing to the Egyptians in the finals seconds 60-57.

Expect a review of the new Phil Collins album “Going Back” when I get time to write one. Also, the new music video for Eminem and Lil Wayne is out, coming off Eminem’s latest album “Recovery” with the song titled “No Love”.


I don’t know if you’ve managed to see this yet but the Lebanese advertisement world finally has a fantastic final product airing on the local TV stations, and it comes in the form of an ad for Bank Audi’s Loubani Card, which and taking into consideration my limited knowledge in the banking world, is a card that solely uses the Lebanese Lira as its working currency.

So what strikes me the most about this ad, developed by Leo Burnett, is the archive footage they were able to retrieve of well-known places like the American University of Beirut (AUB), the infamous Saint Georges Hotel and Yacht Club, the teleferique, the tramway in Sehet El Burj (that’s now known as DT if you want to get all modernized), and the now demolished Carlton Hotel (which is expected to be transformed to, you guessed it, high-rise, wildly-expensive apartment buildings!)

Though its only an approximately one minute ad, I’m sure it’s impact is going to be long-lasting, especially that it gives the older generations a chance to remember the good old days, and remind us “newbies” of what we’re single-handily destroying.

Enjoy! :D


Fadi EL KHATIB(LABANON).JPGThe FIBA World Championships in Turkey began  with all 24 teams playing their first game, some were very close games, other were blowouts, and some even included impressive comebacks.

At 6:30 PM, Lebanon played its first game against Canada, with the Lebanese jumping to an early lead and finishing the first quarter strong, yet the middle was dominated by Canada, which led to a 20-20 tie at the end of the 1st. Canada managed to dominate the second quarter with Lebanon trying to come back numerous times, yet unlike the first quarter, the first half ended with Canada leading 37-34. The Canadians managed to increase their lead throughout the 3rd quarter to as much as 9 points, yet Lebanon’s “Tiger” Fadi El Khatib had other plans in mind, erupting for 16 points in the third quarter on perfect 5 for 5 shooting from the field to bring the lead down to 1 point. The 4th quarter was played out like the end of the third, Lebanese dominance from all sides and El Khatib and Rony Fahed taking over to win the 4th quarter 24-13, eventually winning the game 81-71, giving Lebanon its first World Cup win since the upset of France in ’06. El Khatib had a marvelous game with a game-high 31 points and 8 rebounds, helped by Rony Fahed’s 17 points and Matt Freije’s 12 points, all three pointers while Canda was led by Joel Anthony’s 17 points, Denham Brown’s 13 points and Andy Rautins 10 points, mostly in the first quarter.

The major upset of the night however also came in Group D, with defending champs Spain and France clashing off after Lebanon’s game. Spain started the game strong, limiting the French only to 9 points in the first quarter and it seemed that the Spainards had the game in hand, only for French Mickael Gelabale to spark a 14-5 run assisted by Andrew Albicy and Nicolas Batum, who took on the second half scoring 12 of his 14 points to give France a lead it would never relinquish, shocking the champs with a 72-66 win. Gelabale had 16 points and 6 rebounds for France, helped by Albicy’s 13 points. Spain was led by Juan Carlos Navarro’s 17 points and Rudy Fernandez’s 13 points, whose technical foul and defensive errors were major in costing Spain the game.

Unlike the two previously mentioned games, USA had it easy going, defeating the young Croatians 106-78 behind a strong second quarter that held Croatia to only 6 points and outscored them by 20 points. Eric Gordon, one of the players who weren’t expected to make the final roster, led the Americans off the bench with 16 points, and had Kevin Durant help him with 14 points, as well as Chauncey Billups’ 13 points and having Russell Westbrook and Rudy Gay contribute with 10 apiece. Croatia’s good first quarter was not enough to keep it hanging in there with Team USA, as Bojan Bogdanovich’s 17 points were not enough to pose a challenge for the Americans.

Other results include:

Australia 76 – 75 Jordan

Angola 44 – 94 Serbia

Germany 74 – 78 Argentina

Tunisia 56 – 80 Slovenia

Iran 65 – 81 Brazil

Greece 89 – 81 China

Russia 75 - 66 Puerto Rico

Ivory Coast 47 – 86 Turkey

New Zealand 79 – 92 Lithuania


Less than 6 hours before tip-off, Lebanon will play its first game in its third consecutive appearance at the FIBA World Championships against Canada. This will be the second time these teams play each other after Canada smashed Lebanon in the position games in the 2002 Worlds.

However, things are different this time, as Canada has not improved much while Lebanon embarked on a major recovery from the last-place finish in the 2002 championship, as Lebanon defeated Venezuela and France yet was unable to qualify for the second round due to the point differential factor. Lebanon is predicted by ESPN.com as the second weakest team in Group D with only New Zealand weaker than them. Yet in Efes Pilsner World Cup, which is a warm up for the biggest FIBA competition, Lebanon played Canada in each’s last game and managed to score an 88-76 win, with Jackson Vromann and Matt Freije shining in the win in addition to the help provided by Fadi El Khatib and Rony Fahed. Lebanon also lost its first two games, the first in a hard fought game to group competitiors Argentina 89-82 and were swept by Turkey 93-72.

Although it may look hard, yet Lebanon seems to have a better chance than even to get out of the first round, as losses to defending champs Spain, Lithuania, and Argentina are expectable, which leaves them two games against New Zealand and Canada, both beatable teams and would be more than enough for Lebanon to make it to the Round of 16.

Below can be seen the roster of Team Lebanon and its schedule in the round robin play.

Go Lebanon!

Team Lebanon Schedule:

Saturday, August 28, 2010/ 6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Canada

Sunday, August 29, 2010/ 6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. France

Tuesday, August 31, 2010/ 4:00 PM: Lebanon vs. New Zealand

Wednesday, September 1, 2010/6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Spain

Thursday, September 2, 2010/6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Lithuania

TEAM LEBANON ROSTER:

JEAN ABDEL NOUR

JACKSON VROMAN

ALI MAHMOUD

RONY FAHED

ELIE RUSTOM

ELIE ESTPHANE

ALI KANAAN

RODRIGUE AKL

ALI FAKHREDDINE

MATT FREIJE

GHALEB REDA

FADI EL KHATIB

 


(For our dear friend Moudz, who was a major force in helping us start. Here you go buddy :) )

From Moudz:

I am very excited to announce that Mind Soup was nominated for Bloggers Choice Awards ’10.

Mind Soup has been nominated for three categories: Best Blog Of All Time, Best Blog About Stuff, and Best Pop Culture Blog.

For the first category, we need around 450 votes to be in the lead, while we need 300 for the second and 100 for the third.

We would really appreciate your votes, so help us out if you can :)

Note: Link to post is here:

http://moudz.blogspot.com/2010/07/vote-for-mind-soup-for-bloggers-choice.html



For the past 6 years, Lebanese have been known to be divisive because of politics. Many villages have constant feuds over a bunch of supposed politicians and you got brothers not talking to each other because two politicians can only get along under the table but not show it publicly, keeping the country in unrest.

But let’s put politics aside for once. This country unites under sports, and when our national team is playing basketball. all our differences are put aside and we root for one name: LEBANON.

Lebanese Basketball, Our Pride :D

As you all know, the FIBA World Cup is about to start in about 6 weeks,  and yes, Lebanon is making its third straight appearance.  It all started last year after our national team played in the Asia Championship and made it to the semis to face the Chinese national team. Our team always had this jinx against the Chinese, where due to major height differences and players that play in the NBA (Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, etc…), the Cedars could never beat the Chinese in the past.

So came the semis, and Lebanon was hanging in close against a Yao-less Chinese team and managed to get a lead in the last two minutes. Coming down to the last seconds, the game was tied and mysteriously, one of the Chinese players fakes getting fouled by our Roni Fahed and gets three undeserved free throws, leaving China to beat our national team by 3  points, making Lebanon’s chances for qualifying to the World Cup harder than ever since both teams that play the final automatically qualify. Yet they still had a chance if they beat Jordan in the bronze medal game, which they failed to do, as they lost an 80-66 to the Jordanians.

FIBA World Championships 2010 - Turkey

Despite all that, it still had a slight chance to qualify, by being awarded one of the 4 wild cards. FIBA awards a wild card to a country based on different criteria, such as playing in its Zone’s qualification tournament, popularity of basketball in country, success of country, and government support.

A fee of 500,000 € (approx $765,000) was paid to be eligible for a wild card spot. A few months later,

(yes, you guessed it right) Lebanon was awarded a wild card spot and earned its third consecutive berth in the FIBA world championship. I know, many Lebanese say it isn’t as big as football, but believe me, going to Turkey to watch your national team play in a world cup of a popular sport is HUGE.

Last month, however, conflicts emerged in the Lebanese Basketball Federation that led to the resignation of nine of the the thirteen board committee members with the FBL chief and its members calling each other names, including “mosquitoes”, “lacking loyalty”, and “having other agendas”, which led to the idea that Lebanon might not participate.

If the July War back in ’06 didn’t stop our national team from participating in a World Cup, conflicts among the federation members weren’t going to either. 21 players were invited to try-outs for the team, where 15 of them are playing in the 32nd edition of the Williams Jones Cup that is taking place in Taipei. So far, Lebanon is undefeated in its first two games, where it defeated Japan 87-82 in the first game on July 14th and Chinese Taipei 93-84 yesterday.

After its participation ends in Taipei, our national team will be going to play the Japanese team in the Japan Invitational Games in three different cities. Then, Beirut will be hosting the 3rd Stankovic Cup, which also includes Japan and Chinese Taipei, and others such as the Phillipines, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Its final stop before the World Cup will be one week before the main event, where the team will be going to Ankara to play in the 3rd Efes World Cup, and will play against the likes of Argentina, the host Turkey, and Canada before finally heading to Izmir for the World Championship.

Being placed in Group D with defending champs Spain, Argentina, France, Lithuania and New Zealand,  we have a very fragile chance of making the top 4 in order to qualify to the knock out stages. Yet no one expected Lebanon to win a game in the last World Cup, and despite that, we won the first game vs. Venezuela (ok, you might be saying “so what, it’s Venezuela) but then we beat FRANCE, which had at the time 5 NBA players, (what are you going to say now?) in one of this country’s most legendary wins in international play.

Our National Team Will Make Us Proud No Matter What!

The Lebanese team’s chances in this tournament are to go end somewhere in the middle between their first two participations, where they finished dead last in the first and were on the verge of making the 2nd round in the next. With our star Fadi El Khatub trying to get over nagging injury problems, our team will have to refer to the likes of star point guard Rony Fahed, Matt Freije and Jackson Vroman to take on this difficult challenge as the underdogs in this group and make some noise by surprising the world in making knock-out stages.

All I know is, that come August 28th, every Lebanese person that is capable of traveling to Izmir, Turkey should do so to cheer their country playing vs. Canada and show national pride, and if not, to tune to their TVs to watch our players raise the Lebanese flag high. After all, our country doesn’t play in a World Cup everyday, and you never know when the next time might be.

GO LEBANON!

The Lebanese National Team Roster (Not Final Yet):

Rony Fahed

Ali Mahmoud

Rodrigue Akl

Jean AbdelNour

Elie Estephane

Elie Roustom

Ahmad Ibrahim

Ghaleb Rida

Fadi El Khatib

Ali Fakhreddine

Roy Samaha

Ali Kanaan

William Pharis

Matt Frieje

Jackson Vroman

Head Coach: Tab Baldwin

Asst. Coach: Nikos Dimitriou