24 - 29
September 2019
5 Ahmed Alderazi (MUH)
to read

Alderazi clutch dagger gets Muharraq through to Semi-finals over Fubon

BANGKOK (Thailand) - Muharraq execute in the clutch with plays on both ends from Ahmed Alderazi and Mike Harris to beat the Fubon Braves, 85-81. The win also clinches Muharraq a trip to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2019 Semi-finals.

It was a close game from start to finish, with the lead changing hands 13 times; 7 of those swaps occurred in the final quarter alone. Both teams traded blows back and forth and with the game tied at 81, Ahmed Alderazi found some open space to fire a three-pointer with less 40 seconds to go.

After 5 bounces, the ball nestled itself into the bottom of the net to give Muharraq a crucial three-point lead that they would hold on to the end of the game.

“I’m used to making shots like this in Bahrain,” Alderazi said. “I know I’m not afraid to take this shot. I know my teammates trust me. Everyone trusts me and now we are thinking forward.”

It was Alderazi’s 5th three-pointer from a total of 8 attempts in the day. The shooter had been cold, going for 3-12 from beyond the arc in the previous two games before lighting it up in this crucial match.

Muharraq held off the Braves’ attempts to reclaim the lead, highlighted by Mike Harris’ monster block on Charles Garcia in the waning seconds. Harris had only 8 points in this game, but his defensive effort was key in Muharraq’s monumental win.

Kevin Murphy followed up his 37-point outburst in the previous game by going for 33 in this contest, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. He was held to only 3 points on 1-7 shooting coming out of the halftime break, but gathered the motivation and inspiration to finish strongly.

View this post on Instagram

😤 Murphy drops 3️⃣3️⃣pts. & 1️⃣1️⃣reb. for @muharraqclub 👊

A post shared by 🏀 | FIBA Asia Champions Cup (@fibaasiacc) on


“Everybody was excited about winning these last two game and it’s been a tough three days,” Murphy said afterwards. “Our whole team pulled together to get the win today. We did it for the country of Bahrain and now we’re going on to the semifinals, hopefully to go further than that.”

At 29.3 points per game, Murphy is among one of the top scorers at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Muharraq has done a godb job to advance this far with him piling up the points and they’ll need him to continue doing so when the Final Phase starts.

“Kevin Murphy had a great game. He came up really big at the end of the game today and I’m glad he’s on our team,” praised coach Dean Murray of his star forward.

The Bahraini champions have finished the Group Phase with a 2-1 record, good enough for second place in Group A. They have now advanced on to play in the Semi-finals with a scheduled meet against Group B’s top seed, Al Riyadi.

“Riyadi is a big team,” Alderazi admited. “Everyone knows that and they have big guys. It’s a hard matchup for us, but I think we have experienced players to do our best to make it to the finals.”

Regardless of what happens from now on out in the Semi-finals, Muharraq have done their part in motivating themselves to get them through to this Final Phase. From here on out, the stakes are going to be even higher and they will have to be ready.

“It’s the Semi-finals so it’s playoffs basketball,” Murphy said emphatically. “It’s win or go home, so I feel like whoever we play is going to bring their best game so we’re going to have to bring our best.”

“No disregard or disrespect to anyone else, but we were the 8th seeded team in this tournament and we knew we weren’t the 8th best team coming in,” Coach Dean Murray said. “Now we’re in the final 4 so now we’ve moved forward. I’m really proud of the team. I’m happy for the club and the country of Bahrain because I know that everybody in Bahrain was watching today. We’re extremely happy about that.”

Bader Malabes was also on fire for Muharraq, scoring 16 points with 4 three-pointers including two crucial long bombs in the last few minutes.

The Fubon Braves were able to unleash Sim Bhullar back into form as the big man put up 22 points on 10-14 shooting with 15 boards. However, they were only able to knock down 6 of 29 three-pointers for 20.7 percent.

Semi-finals bound teams will now get one-day rest on September 27 before continuing in the Final Phase at the Semi-finals on September 28.