No rest for the weary as Manama gear up for FIBA Intercontinental Cup, new WASL season
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Manama have found only little time to celebrate their achievements in what has been a successful 2023 for the club thus far.
Shortly after becoming the first-ever FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) champions, the crew turned all their focus in winning the Bahraini Premier League anew, which they accomplished by sweeping Muharraq in Game 3 to cop their 24th championship overall.
It was their third trophy within a span of four weeks. They also lorded over another contest locally, the Khalifa bin Salman Cup, last May 30 - just days before the WASL Final 8.
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"There is no real time to rest. Only a few days," said head coach Linos Gavriel.
Now, even though it's still July, the team is already preparing for the prestigious FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2023 in 21-24 September to be held in Singapore.
Manama got invited to complete the six-team field in basketball's highest club competition after winning the WASL title at the expense of Kuwait Club, 67-59, in a thrilling finale between WASL-Gulf teams held at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in Dubai.
Following the draw last 20 June also at the Lion City, they found themselves pooled in Group B together with 2023 Basketball Champions League winners Telekom Baskets Bonn of Germany and Chinese Basketball Association representatives Zhejiang Golden Bulls.
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The squad is gearing up this early as Gavriel knows how tough the competition is, having coached in the Intercontinental Cup himself when he called the shots for 2022 Basketball Africa League (BAL) champions US Monastir last February in Tenerife, Spain.
"I was there in February with the BAL champions in Tenerife in the previous Intercontinental Cup, and I can say that the competition is tough," he offered as the club from Tunisia finished fourth, "and the level is extremely high, so we need to be ready."
"And, we want to represent our team and the country in the best possible way," added the veteran mentor, who returned to Manama shortly after that stint.
There is no real time for rest, as what Gavriel said. But none from Manama is complaining, for this is all part of building the team they want to for the next season - WASL included, of course.
By conquering their domestic league for the second time in a row, they have locked a spot in the second season of WASL, giving themselves a chance to defend the crown they won in the City of Gold.
"We are trying to build up the roster and we are working on it until now," said Gavriel when asked about their plans for the next competitions that will start later this year.
"No names I can mention, but what is sure is that we will do what is necessary for the team to have the best possible chemistry, and bring in the right pieces like we did last season," he furthered.
Plus, there's always that drive for success within each and everyone in the Manama camp that keeps them going, no matter how hard the battle - or in their case, battles - could get.
"Definitely, we are still hungry," Gavriel said. "It is in our nature, my nature and my players, coaches and management's nature, that’s why we succeed."