Abdel Gabar heroic as Al Hilal rally from 16 down, frustrate Kazma
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) - Khalid Abdel Gabar had too much pride to get beaten in his own yard as Al Hilal turned back Kazma, 96-92, for a rousing FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) debut, Monday night at the Green Basketball Court.
COLD-BLOODED 😳— FIBA Asia Champions Cup (@FIBAAsiaCC) December 19, 2022
Khalid Abdel Gabar delivers in the clutch to help Al Hilal take down Kazma and score their first West Asia Super League win! 🔥#FIBAAsiaCC x #FIBAWASL | @officialWASL pic.twitter.com/nHzMmEDX2N
The veteran floor general showed nerves of steel in the endgame, drilling the go-ahead triple from the top with 0.3 seconds left that eventually gave him a rare 4-point play opportunity as counterpart Kevin Murphy was called for a foul.
He was not able to convert the bonus, but made the first two free throws awarded to his side as a result of a technical foul slapped on Kazma's Abdulaziz Alhamidi, leading to his ejection -- with the match everything but settled.
Abdel Gabar finished with a game-high 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists with an efficiency rating of 34 to star in Al Hilal's fightback from 16 down.
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TURNING POINT: The home team found its rhythm in the third canto after trailing hugely in the quarter prior, unloading 16 unanswered points to take a 70-69 lead with 1:24 on the clock, setting up the tight affair.
Kazma did regain the upper hand, 92-91, behind Yousiff Borrhamah's cleanup job of Kevin Murphy's missed free throw with 12.3 seconds left to play.
However, that amount of time was more than enough for Al-Hilal to set up a play, leading to Abdel Gabar's clutch trifecta off Mohammmed Alsuwailem's kick-out from the post as the national team connection came in full effect.
GAME HEROES: Clint Chapman was pivotal in the comeback as well with 25 points and 7 rebounds. Alsuwailem tallied 16 points and 12 rebounds as the frontcourt duo came alive to help out in the second half uprising.
Osama Albargawi added 14 points as 4 of the starters finished in double figures in the victory as Al Hilal joined Shabab Al Ahli Dubai as the early winners in Group A of the Gulf League. The latter beat Al Bashaer on the road earlier.
STATS DON'T LIE: Al Hilal shot 49.3-percent from the floor, including a 12-of-25 clip from deep -- 5 of which came from Abdel Gabar.
But commendable as well were their defense most especially on Kevin Murphy, who already had 20 points for Kazma to lead all scorers at the break but was limited to just a measly 5 in the game's final 24 minutes.
THEY SAID: "It was a very tough game from the start. We were down by 15 points, first half. Once we got into the locker room, everybody just came together. Coach told us that we still have a chance, still a lot of time left. I'm proud of my team. We fought back." - Khalid Abdel Gabar, Al Hilal