Minnerath fires 32 as Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai escape Al Hilal to stay unbeaten
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - Nick Minnerath starred anew as Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai withstood Al Hilal, 75-70, in another nail-biter of a win to remain undefeated in WASL Gulf League, Monday night at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall.
The well-travelled forward finished with a season-high 32 points, 18 of which he made in the second half that saw him preside over the home team's finishing 8-3 run on the way to stretching their winning streak to 3.
Shabab Al Ahli have also taken pole position of Group A by taking down the erstwhile unbeaten Al Hilal, who fell short in their first road assignment.
Game heroes: Minnerath indeed shone in the triumph but the others definitely made their presences felt as well, most especially in the endgame.
Milan Milosevic contributed 13 points and 9 rebounds.
22-year-old Hamid Abdullateef Albreiki supplied a full line of 12 points, on top of 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block for his best outing to date.
Veteran big man Omar Alshabebi added 10 markers and 7 boards.
Their balanced attack was a stark contrast to Al Hilal's, who were led by the 21 points of Mark Lyon and the 20-13 outing of Mohammed Alsuwailem.
Turning point: Game was tied at 67-all until the trio of Minnerath, Abdullateef, and Milosevic put together 6 straight points for the 73-67 lead with 2:05 remaining.
Lyons nailed a triple on the other end with 43.2 seconds to go to slash the deficit to half and fan Al Hilal's hopes of a comeback, but all that got dashed when Minnerath nailed a tough lay-up over Alsuwailem with 29.3 ticks left.
"It was a battle. Probably the most beautiful game that you can watch. It was a battle. It was somehow a psychological game on both sides, especially second half. But I believe mentally, we prevailed at the end. We played good defense at the end. We hit big shots in the moment when we were supposed to sort out the game in a better way. But those things happen and we have to learn every time to improve." - Zoran Zupcevic, Head Coach, Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai
"I'm proud of my players. They tried hard, they worked hard. But everybody knows between two, only will win the game. The most important for us, the moment when Shabab Al Ahli led by 10 points, we didn't go down, immediately we stood up." - Efstratios Koukoulekidis, Head Coach, Al Hilal