Muharraq lose Arab clubs opener
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain’s Muharraq Club suffered a tough 61-82 defeat to defending champions Kuwait Sports Club of Kuwait last night in the 35th Arab Clubs Basketball Championship, currently taking place in Doha, Qatar.
The contest was the first for both sides in Group A of the competition’s preliminary stage.
Muharraq are the Kingdom’s lone representatives in the tournament, which features 18 top teams from across the region.
The Bahrainis let the game get away from them in the fourth quarter after staying within striking distance the entire way.
Muharraq and Kuwait are in the same group as Qatar Sports Club of Qatar and Bureij Services of Palestine.
The Qataris were 87-70 winners over the Palestinians in the first divisional clash held Sunday.
Muharraq return to action against Bureij tomorrow at 4pm, Bahrain time, and then take on Qatar on Thursday at 7pm, Bahrain.
In yesterday’s contest, American import Julius Coles spearheaded the Bahrainis with 24 points in the loss, while Australian-South Sudanese Deng Acuoth added 13 points and 13 rebounds. Veteran guard Bader Abdulla Jassim chipped in with 12.
For Kuwait, Mohammed Harat had 23 points and 13 boards, while Kudi Llani contributed 15.
The game was tied at 20-all at the end of the first quarter, as Coles buried a corner three-pointer to beat the buzzer.
Another Coles basket then gave Muharraq a narrow lead to begin the second, but the Kuwaitis battled back and were able to build a 38-33 gap at the half.
Kuwait extended their lead in the third to double digits, but Muharraq cut the deficit to seven, 44-51, following an Ali Rabeea fastbreak lay-up with just over two minutes to go.
The Bahrainis continued to trail 48-56 as they headed into the final canto.
There, a series of turnovers and their missed attempts helped Kuwait stretch their advantage even further, en route to closing out the 21-point win.
The tournament is being held under the auspices of the Arab Basketball Confederation.
Group B features Al Ittihad Alexandria of Egypt, Union Sportive Medina d’Alger of Algeria, Al Ahly Doha from Qatar and Dynamo Lebanon from Lebanon.
Group C includes Sanaa from Yemen, AS Sale from Morocco, Al Qadsiya from Kuwait and Al Fateh from Saudi Arabia.
Group D comprises Al Ittihad from Libya, Al Ahly of Egypt, Dijlah University from Iraq, MTB Majd Tanja from Morocco and Beirut First Club from Lebanon.
Muharraq have added Coles and six-foot, 10-inch Acuoth to bolster their Bahraini roster in the tournament.
Acuoth was signed at the last minute after American player Tyler Wilkerson suffered an injury in the lead-up to their opening game.
In the previous Arab clubs championship last year, Bahrain’s Al Ahli Club were the Kingdom’s representatives.
They made it to the round of 16. Kuwait went on to clinch the title with a one-point victory over Egypt’s Ahly in the final. A Bahraini team has yet to win the tournament title.