Manama advance to championship series | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Manama advance to championship series

TDT | Manama                                                                         

The Daily Tribune –

Manama powered into the championship series last night of the 2022/2023 Zain Bahrain Basketball League. The defending champions secured their place following a come-from-behind 97-85 victory over bitter rivals Al Ahli in the third and decisive game of their best-of-three Golden Square semi-final series, played at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town.

Trailing by one, 65-66, heading into the final canto, Manama used a dominant fourth quarter performance where they outscored Ahli 32-19 to take control of the game and eventually close out the win.

Manama led by as many as 13 points on the way to the final whistle. Manama now move on to the finals where they have a repeat match-up against Muharraq in the best-of-five championship series.

Game one is scheduled to take place on June 2, followed by game two on June 5. The schedule of the rest of the series will be released by the Bahrain Basketball Association in due course.

Manama and Muharraq also faced off in last season’s title series, held over just three games, with Muharraq taking the opener and Manama winning the next two. The two teams are also set to face off in the final of this season’s Khalifa bin Salman Cup basketball tournament.

That will be played on Monday at the same venue. In last night’s rubber match, Manama took a 28-20 lead at the end of the first quarter after Sir’Dominic Pointer made a layup with 21 seconds to go.

Ahli were able to cut the deficit in the second period and Dakari Johnson brought them to within three, 40-43, with a basket prior to the half-time buzzer. Ahli then powered ahead at the end of the third period.

After Taylor Rochestie tied the game at 60-apiece with three minutes remaining, baskets from Subah Hussain and Johnson gave them a slim 66-63 edge, but Travin Thibodeaux was able to make it just a one-point lead. In the fourth, Manama began to pull away.

They went on an 8-1 run capped by a Pointer dunk to make it 79-72, and later back-to-back triples from Mustafa Hussain and Ahmed Salman gave them their biggest advantage, 92-79, with just two minutes to go.

Ahli could not recover, and four pressure-packed freethrows from Pointer pegged the final score. Pointer led six Manama players in double figures with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Ahmed Aldurazi finished with 19, including four three-pointers. Salman, Thibodeaux and Mohammed Ameer each finished with 14, while Hussain had 12.