Hamooda, Haji provide surprise spark as Manama drag Kazma to rubber match
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - Manama stunned Kazma on the road, 100-90, to send their WASL Qualification to Semi-Finals best-of-3 series to the limit, Monday night at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex in Kuwait City.
Mohammed Hamooda and Ahmed Haji provided the unlikely spark in the season-saving win, turning in sterling outings as they helped lead the Bahraini side's 43-point second-quarter eruption that changed the game's course in their favor.
The series shifts back to the BBA Arena in Game 3, indeed a huge chance for Manama to complete the comeback and forge a semis duel with Al Hilal.
Game heroes: Hamooda tied his WASL career-high 21 points, 11 of which he made in the second period as he joined hands with Haji and Elijah Robinson for the huge rally that wiped out an eight-point deficit heading into the frame.
Haji and Robinson, for their part, came through with 18 points apiece, with the former nailing 5 triples on the way to a personal season-high. The latter added 6 rebounds and a pair of assists as the two led the visiting side's bench mob.
Lamont Jones finished with a double-double after collecting 13 points and 11 assists, together with 6 rebounds and a game-high 5 steals.
Travin Thibodeaux also had 13 markers in the win that saw him fearlessly go toe-to-toe with celebrated counterpart Salah Mejri, who had 15 and 17 for Kazma.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Jones earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors after earning 32 percent of the fan votes.
Turning point: Manama stared at a four-point deficit early in the second chapter until Robinson powered an 11-0 run to take a 29-22 lead with 7:22 to go, and momentum would go to their side since they established a 55-38 halftime lead.
Kazma did come within just five during the fourth but Haji and Co. restored order in no time as they coasted to the 10-point victory.
Stats don't lie: Turnovers proved to be the difference in the match, with Kazma committing 27 that Manama turned into 36 points.
Ten of their TOs came from Rector alone, tying the WASL record for most TOs in a game first set by Edgar Sosa of Al Naft over at the West Asia League.