Malabes, Wilkerson show way as Muharraq beat Al-Ahli Jeddah for first win
MANAMA (Bahrain) - Muharraq leaned on their veterans to run past Al-Ahli Jeddah, 94-80, to break through in the FIBA West Asia Super League, Tuesday night at the BBA Arena.
Bader Malabes and Tyler Wilkerson joined hands to lead the fourth-quarter breakaway en route to chalking up their first win of the season after receiving a harsh welcome at the hands of reigning Gulf League champions Kuwait Club back in Week 1.
Game heroes: Malabes top-scored for the home team with 22 points on four triples, alongside 5 rebounds and 6 assists that hiked their card to 1-1 in the Group A standings.
Wilkerson, after being quiet in the early goings of the game, went on to finish with 21 points and 14 rebounds, together with 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.
Mohamed Juma had 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Mohamd Ebrahim supplid 17 points as four players scored in twin digits in the victory.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Ebrahim earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors as he helped Muharraq stay close to the visitors early, scoring 15 in the first three quarters.
Turning point: Muharraq trailed by a field goal early in the fourth until Malabes and Wilkerson connived for a mini 6-0 run to put themselves ahead, 80-74, with 6:32 to go.
They would remain ahead the rest of the way although the breakaway did not start until Malabes' triple sparked a 7-0 assault to push their lead to 89-79 with 2:21 left.
Stats don't lie: Proving to be the difference in Muharraq's bounce-back win was the 29 assists they dished as a unit, which led to an efficient 52.8-percent shooting from the field.
They said: "Nothing is over. This is only the first one. We have around four more games and we are looking to get Ws as much as we can." - Ahmed Jan, Head Coach, Muharraq
"As a player, it's always [about] you have to do well in the next game, better than the previous one. The team, we had to win this game at home, everyone contributed and performed well to get this win." - Bader Malabes, Muharraq
"We missed a lot of shots. But anyway, I'm really happy about the effort. I told everybody before WASL, we miss a lot of players, I have three players injured ... they make the team stronger than last year, this year we miss them. I'm sure they will be back. I'm sorry for my players but I'm happy about what they're doing." - Ali Alsanhani, Head Coach, Al Ahli Jeddah