Ahli crowned champions! | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Ahli crowned champions!

TDT | Manama

Al Ahli was last night crowned champions of the 2019/2020 Zain Bahrain Basketball League. Ahli secured the title with a 99-88 victory over arch-rivals Manama to close out the best-of-three finals series in a two-game sweep. Ahli claimed their 18th league championship, according to Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA) records.

They had last won the crown in the 2009/2010 season when they secured back-to-back titles. The finals were a match-up between two of Bahrain’s historically most successful basketball clubs. The two teams picked up their respective trophies and medals in an awarding ceremony attended by BBA president Talal Kanoo and other BBA officials while taking into account social-distancing measures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For the second successive contest, Ahli used a strong second half to take control of a close game. They outscored Manama 22-13 in the third period and enjoyed a 77-68 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, which they did well to hold on to until the final whistle.

American professionals Brandon Brown and Dominique Sutton combined for 52 points to spearhead the victors, with Brown registering a team-high 30 along with eight rebounds and eight assists. Bahraini stars Maitham Jameel and Mohammed Qurban added 19 and 11, respectively, while Hesham Sarhan scored nine and Ali Aqeel eight.

Brown fired in five three-pointers in the game, including one with only a minute remaining to virtual ice the contest with a 93-80 lead. Jameel added four triples while Qurban finished with three. Ahli’s title triumph was doubly sweet for Jameel and Qurban, both of whom had signed with Manama for a few years from Ahli, before returning to their original club prior to last season.

Polish import Maciej Lampe had a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds to pace Manama in the loss, but it wasn’t enough to get them over the hump. Mohammed Hussain added 15, while American Harvey Jerai Grant and Hassan Nowrooz each scored 10. Ahli needed more than four minutes to register their first points of the game as Manama roared to a brilliant start and took a 10-0 lead.

But once Ahli found their groove, they were able to equally match their rivals over the remainder of the first half. They cut their deficit to 26-29 at the end of the first quarter and then managed to get things deadlocked at 55-apiece by the interval. That paved the way for Ahli’s splendid second half when they were able to pull away from Manama and stave off a late comeback.

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