13 November, 2023
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Game Report
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Ebanks, Pointer clutch as Manama drag Kuwait Club to Game 3

KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - Devin Ebanks and Sir'Dom Pointer showed nerves of steel to save Manama past Kuwait Club, 77-73, and send their FIBA WASL-Gulf League Season 2 Final to a deciding Game 3, Monday night at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex.

 

Ebanks broke the 73-all deadlock by canning both of his free throws with 5.4 seconds left to play, making Turki Alshemmari pay dearly for committing an unsportsmanlike foul as the opposing point guard tried to prevent the former NBA veteran from running the floor.

So heavy was that blow as such a call also kept the possession to Manama, which became an opportunity for Pointer to ice the game. He was fouled to stop the clock at 4.2 seconds, and the seasoned winger calmly made both of his own charities to settle the final count.

Thanks to them, the reigning FIBA WASL champions' aspirations of winning the sub-zone league remained very much alive. The Bahraini crew could get the job done in the do-or-die set next Monday, May 6, on their home floor at the Khalifa Sport City in Isa Town.

Game heroes: Ebanks shot a perfect 8-of-clip from the foul line and finished with 21 points, finally seeing his efforts result to a win after his 23-point outing went for naught in Game 1.

Pointer, for his part, scattered 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists in an all-around performance that also saw him collect 3 steals and 3 blocks, netting an efficiency of 30.

Ahmed Haji was big as well in the character win as the steady playmaker produced 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.

Turning point: Manama regained control in the third quarter as they took advantage of Kuwait Club losing Hamad Hasan due to foul trouble, and appeared to be cruising to the victory when they built a 70-56 lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.

Moh Hasan, however, spearheaded an uprising, nailing a quartet of three-pointers in a 16-4 retaliation to pull his side to within just a point, 73-72, with 1:28 to go.

Kuwait Club pulled off a big stop on the other end after that by blocking Ebanks, and Marcus Georges-Hunt took it strong to the cup moments later and got fouled with 54.1 seconds left, giving themselves the opportunity to retake the lead as he was sent to the charity stripe.

The veteran winger, however, made just one of his two shots and only tied the game at 73-all. They did prevent Haji from having a good look on the basket but they couldn't capitalize, with Mohamed Ameer forcing Georges-Hunt to an airball which Ebanks hauled down.

That proved to be the beginning of the end for Kuwait Club as Ebanks went on to give Manama the lead for good, and with Pointer whamming the nail in the coffin to seal the triumph.

Stats don't lie: Manama shot 42.0-percent from the floor and missed just two of their 18 free throws, an improvement after making just 37.3-percent of their field goals and clunking a total of 13 foul shots (21-of-34) in the series opener last week at their own stomping grounds.

They said: "I think it was 70-56 and then they made the run. We lost our concentration. They hit big shots. We didn't switch, we didn't contest the shots of Mohammad Hasan. This kind of lack of concentration may cost you a game, thank God it didn't. I believe that it's what we'll sit down and watch in film to not let it repeat. Because good teams like them, they will punish you. But we showed character in the end." - Linos Gavriel, Head Coach, Manama

"I think we had a little chip on our shoulder coming in here tonight, knowing that it's gonna be a hostile crowd - we have our fans, they have their fans. We had a great week of practice. Coach instilled in us that we needed to be physical, follow the game plan. We had times where we had mistakes but I feel like a good 75, 80 percent, we did the job. Still need some things to clear up and get ready for Game Three." - Devin Ebanks, Manama

"It was a fight. I thought we responded well to the beginning when we were down five, and our defense kicked in. But the third quarter, it wasn't our quarter, you know, we had Hamad fouling out, and we just got stagnant. Got in a hole. Great comeback, though. We did what we could. I'm proud of the team fighting back. We have a third game so hopefully we brush it off, go there well-prepared, and repeat what we did in the first game." - Peter Schomers, Head Coach, Kuwait Club

"The shot felt good. It rattled in, as you can see, and it came out. Not gonna beat myself up. We got a Game Three." - Marcus Georges-Hunt, Kuwait Club

FIBA