13 November, 2023
06 May, 2024
Game Report
to read

Joe Young the difference as Kuwait Club retain Gulf title

MANAMA (Bahrain) - It took one man to spell the difference.


Joe Young provided the huge lift as Kuwait Club successfully defended their throne as rulers of the FIBA WASL-Gulf League by way of a 99-92 decision over rivals Manama in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the Final, Monday night at the Khalifa Sport City in Isa Town.

Brought in to replace the injured Tony Carr, the former NBA player finished with 25 points, 9 of which he made in the fourth quarter alone as he helped the visitors overcome a 79-80 deficit on their way to ruling the sub-zone league for the second season in a row.

Young shot 10-of-18 from the field and also collected 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench, netting an efficiency (EFF) of 23 in a sterling performance that deservingly earned him STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors

"I would like to congratulate my team for hanging in there especially in the tough period. And, congratulate Joseph for coming here and really helping us out big time," offered Kuwait Club head coach Peter Schomers post-game. "He had a big impact on this game."

Young kept Kuwait Club in the thick of the fight when the home team came out with a strong third-quarter before igniting the decisive run in the final frame, which enabled the crew to exact revenge against the team that beat them in the FIBA WASL Final last year.

He first nailed a triple as a response to Devin Ebanks' bucket on the other end, and then sank both of his charities for five straight points. That personal run sparked what would be a 16-5 attack - which he also closed out - en route to a 95-85 lead with 3:21 remaining.

The game would never be in doubt since, leaving Manama a frustrated bunch as they failed to replicate the resilience they showed in Game 2 last week at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex in Kuwait City, which dragged the best-of-3 meet to a do-or-die affair.

"We knew that they'd ramp up the pressure whenever they could and we responded well, stayed in control of the game, got some big buckets at the end and a couple of important stops and no better place than winning a big championship in Manama," said Schomers.

Delivering solidly as well in the win were the usual suspects led by Marcus Georges-Hunt, who produced 19 points, spiked by a pair of triples, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. The seasoned winger already had 13 points in the first quarter alone to help his side to a 33-22 start.

Hamad Hasan supplied 16 points as he prevented fouling out like in the previous match. His brother, Moh, made 13 points, while Cady Lalanne almost had a double-double with 10 points and 8 rebounds as four of the starters scored in double figures in the win.

"I just want to congratulate my team, and really, the organization, Coach, just for getting my family and I an opportunity to come here and help the team and get this Final win. I thought the guys did a great job, " said Young, who played for the Indiana Pacers for a while.

Sir'Dom Pointer, on the other hand, led Manama with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in the defeat that foiled the Bahraini side's plans of finishing their story against essentially the squad that swept them in the Gulf League Final last season.

Ebanks made 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ahmed Haji shot a troika of treys and went in to finish with 14 points. Travin Thibodeaux contributed 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Mohammed Ameer and Ali Jaber added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

"Very disappointed, it disappointed the fans. We had our chance to win the Gulf here. We deserve to win it. Unfortunately other things happened that we don't have control over," said Manama head coach Linos Gavriel. "But life goes on. We have to keep our heads up."

Kuwait Club and Manama are two of the three Gulf League teams bound for the FIBA WASL Final 8. The other is sub-zone third-placers Kazma from Kuwait as well.