'Love' wins it: Elijah Robinson takes over, Al Manama spoil Al Nasr home opener
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) - Elijah Robinson typified endgame composure as Al Manama escaped Al Nasr Riyadh on the road, 75-72, to start their WASL stint on the right foot, Tuesday night at the Green Basketball Court in Riyadh.
The 27-year-old forward finished with 17 points, none bigger than the four straight he made to give his side the lead for good, 73-72, with 39.7 seconds left after blowing a 13-point lead they established late in the third quarter.
Close call on the road!@ManamaClub 🇧🇭 get their act together in the clutch to avoid a meltdown from 13 up and score their first W in the @OfficialWASL 😤#FIBAAsiaCC x #FIBAWASL pic.twitter.com/W9XoOnl5xS— FIBA Asia Champions Cup (@FIBAAsiaCC) December 20, 2022
Splits by Ahmed Alderazi and Ahmed Akber inside the final 7 seconds plus Brandon Austin's missed Hail Mary sealed it for the visitors.
Proudly sporting 'LOVE' on the back of his jersey, Robinson shot 46.6-percent from the field and also collected 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block as the ball club from Bahrain joined Kuwait Club on top of the Gulf League Group B with identical 1-0 records.
Game heroes: Alderazi top-scored for Al Manama with 18 points, on top of 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals each in 36 minutes of play.
Lamonte Ulmer supplied 14 points and 9 rebounds as he also played a key role in ensuring that his side won't totally collapse in the final period.
Turning point: Al Manama appeared to have taken control of the match after building a 59-46 advantage with less than a minute to go in the third canto.
The home team, however, simply didn't want to be humiliated on their own turf. Al Nasr retaliated with a fiery 18-0 assault to take the driver's seat, 64-59, with exactly 7 minutes left to play, paving the way for a nip-and-tuck affair.
Musab Kadi went on to drill a big triple from the right wing to put Al Nasr ahead once more, 72-69, with 1:57 left, only for Robinson to spoil their party.
Robinson and Co. spoiled as well the big night of Austin, who led Al Nasr with a tournament record-tying 29 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat.
Stats don't lie: Turnovers sure hurt Al Nasr. They committed 14 in total, which their foes turned to 22 points. Al Manama won the rebounds also, 48-33, where they hauled down 15 offensive boards and had 18 second-chance points.
They said: "I believe that this game is one of those games you love to play in, like, you look forward to playing in. It wasn't pretty, you had to grind it out, you had to fight 'til the end. But in the end, our team came, won the game. Appreciate the fans for coming out. We prepared for this game, we wanted to win this game, and that's what happened." - Elijah Robinson, Al Manama
"It was a good experience for us because that was the first game. And this first game brings a little bit of pressure for everybody. And I'm happy how my team was handling this pressure. The game was a little bit weird for us but we showed good character." - Alen Abaz, Head Coach, Al Manama.