09 - 17
June 2023
Game Report
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Sweet payback: Manama overcome Kuwait Club, emerge as first-ever FIBA WASL champions

DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - Manama earned the sweetest of paybacks as they took down an old tormentor in Kuwait Club, 67-59, to become the first-ever FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) champions, Saturday night at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall here.

Mosti Rashed calmly sank the game's most important free throws with 28.5 seconds left, which were more than enough to shut the door close on the opposition's late-game comeback that saw them get to within just five, 60-55, after being down by as much as 19 in the third.

The young guard's foul shots, furthermore, ensured that the efforts of Jeremy Evans, Hasan Nowrooz, and Sir'Dominic Pointer in keeping Kuwait Club at bay won't go to waste.

"It was all about heart," said Rashed. "Nobody believed in us, but we did."

Rashed set the pace for Manama with 18 points, including 10 in the first quarter alone, on the way to bagging home STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors.

Pointer finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Nowrooz added 13 markers as all but one of the nine players fielded by Coach Linos Gavriel scored at least 2 in the win.

Manama shot 45.3-percent from the field but what the champion bench tactician felt extremely proud of was his wards' defensive grit in shackling the WASL-Gulf champions.

"To limit them to just 59 points was like a miracle," said Gavriel as Kuwait Club were averaging 84.2 points prior to the championship bout. "I'm very proud of my team."

Hamad Hasan led Kuwait Club with a game-high 25 points and 6 rebounds in the loss. Cady Lalanne was the only other double-digit scorer with 21 markers, with 6 boards as well.

Meanwhile, BC Astana escaped Al Riyadi, 94-90, to salvage a third-place finish.

STEP AHEAD Player of the Game Martin Krampelj led the way with 23 points and 8 rebounds, saving his best for last as the Central Asia representatives capped off their campaign triumphantly after that stinging loss to Manama in the Semi-Finals barely 24 hours ago.

Karvel Anderson was back in his element as well after scoring just 7 against the Bahraini side. He finished with 17 points, including the pair of free throws that sealed it after Al Riyadi came back to within two, 92-90, with 10.2 seconds left.

Markell Johnson supplied 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Dmitriy Gavrilov chipped in 11 in the win that saw the team dish out 22 assists.

Al Riyadi, on the other hand, were led by the 23 points and a game-high 13 rebounds of Duop Reath in the comeback that fell short. 

Hayk Gyokchyan provided 19 points. Kevin Murphy scored 16, while Elmedin Kikanovic and Amir Saoud added 13 and 11 markers, respectively.