13 November, 2023
06 May, 2024
15 Sir' Dominic Pointer (MNM)
Game Report
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Manama withstand Muharraq, seal return to Gulf League Final

MANAMA (Bahrain) - Manama overcame a gallant stand by Muharraq, 98-88, to book a return trip to the FIBA WASL-Gulf League Final, Monday night at the Khalifa Sport City in Isa Town.

Mohammed Ameer and Ali Rashed came through with clutch plays, before Sir'Dom Pointer sealed the deal through trips to the foul line as the troika saved their side after seeing the opposition climb back from 17 down and get to within two, 90-88, with 1:59 left in the game.

Following another solid display of resolve, the reigning FIBA WASL champions now have another shot at the sub-zone league title after falling short in the inaugural season.

They face either defending Gulf League titlists Kuwait Club or Kazma in the Big Dance. Kuwait Club presently lead the all-Kuwaiti Semis affair, 1-0, and could forge a Final rematch in Game 2 on Tuesday night at the Shaikh Saad Bin Maktoum Sport Hall in Kuwait City.

Game heroes: Pointer led Manama with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals for an efficiency of 33, eventually earning STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors.

Rashed finished with 22 points, nailing four of the team's 10 triples, and 6 assists. Devin Ebanks produced a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, together with 3 assists.

Travin Thibodeaux supplied 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ameer had 11 points as well alongside 6 boards while Ahmed Haji chipped in 10 points, spiked by a pair of treys, as a total of six players finished in double figures in the character-testing victory.

Turning point: Manama already held an 87-75 lead approaching the game's last six minutes until Muharraq came back roaring behind winger Ricky Ledo, who calmly made made both of his free throws to pull themselves to within just a field goal.

But then, Manama's poise came to play. Ameer scored off an underbasket stab with 1:36 to go, and then came up with a crucial offensive board that eventually led to Rashed sinking a runner to give their side more breathing room, 94-88, heading into the final minute.

Muharraq had no more rallies left in them, and could only resort to the fouling game to freeze the clock. But that did not work as Pointer perfected his two trips to the charity stripe to secure the victory. Manama finished the game with an 8-0 run.

Stats don't lie: Manama made 50-percent of their field goals and dominated the boards as well, 44-29. Their defense also proved key as the crew collected 10 steals.

They said: "I want to congratulate my players and the whole organization for being in the Finals again of FIBA WASL-Gulf. It's an achievement we don't take for granted just because of last year's success. We're proud of our hard work to reach the Finals., About the game, Muharraq is a tough opponent ... but we showed character. We made adjustments. We managed to be calm enough in order to be in the proper position to win the game." - Linos Gavriel, Head Coach, Manama

"Credit and much respect to Muharraq. They had a good FIBA WASL season. But we just had to come out and show the champion's character. It's a blessing to get back to the Gulf Final. That's one our biggest goals, knowing that we lost last season. We're back and we're ready to fight." - Travin Thibodeaux, Manama

"Of course, every fightback, I should be proud of it. Because we did not give up. Very proud of the effort. We didn't give up. Unfortunately, we fell short. At least we knew our capabilities. We should play like how we played in the second half, at the start. We'll work on it. Our main focus now in FIBA WASL is to get the third place to make it to the Final 8." - Bader Malabes, Muharraq