Manama begin title-defence with win
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain basketball powerhouses Manama began their title-defence last night in the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) 2023/2024 with a resounding 84-76 victory over Kazma of Kuwait.
The game was played at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam, and it was the first for both sides in Group B of the tournament’s Gulf sub-zone, where they are also with Shabab Al Ahli of the UAE and Al Shamal from Qatar.
Manama used a sensational second-half yesterday to extend a narrow lead en route to closing out the eight-point triumph.
Manama made history last season by becoming the first-ever champions of the newly launched WASL competition.
Manama are taking part in the new campaign alongside Muharraq, making for two Bahrain representatives.
In last night’s clash, young Bahraini guard Mustafa Hussain put in a fine performance, pouring in 29 points to finish as Manama’s top scorer.
Hussain had five three-pointers in the game.
The Bahrainis led 23-17 at the end of the first quarter and stayed ahead 44-41 at the half.
But they were able to build on their advantage after the interval and were up 62-54 after three.
Manama then enjoyed their biggest lead of the contest of 14 points in the final canto and held on for the all-important win.
Sir’Dominic Pointer added 20 points for Manama along with eight rebounds and six assists, while Travin Thibodeaux scored 13 and took down nine boards.
Tony Farmer chipped in with 11 in the win. For Kazma, Clint Chapman had 23 as their top performer while Travis Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Manama are back on the hardwood in WASL action on 4 December, when they host Shamal in their second Group B assignment.
Meanwhile, Muharraq lost their opening game to Kuwait Sporting Club last week in Group A of the Gulf sub-zone.
They are making their debut in the tournament and are also alongside Al Ahli Jeddah of Saudi Arabia and Al Rayyan of Qatar.
Muharraq return to action against Saudi’s Ahli on 28 November. The competition this season features a similar format from its inaugural campaign.
The three best teams at the end of the WASL Gulf sub-zone and the WASL West Asia sub-zone leagues earn their tickets to the Final Eight.
Joining the six will be the champion teams from South Asia and Central Asia, and they will all vie for the right to become cage kings of the region.
Prior to the Final Eight, each sub-zone league features two groups of four teams, with the top seed by the end of the round-robin opening phase directly qualifying to the best-ofthree semi-finals.