*** ----> Al Ahli punch ticket to final | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Al Ahli punch ticket to final

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Al Ahli punched their ticket last night to the final of the 2023/2024 Khalifa bin Salman Cup. Ahli claimed their place after defeating last year’s tournament finalists Muharraq 101-94 in game two of their best-ofthree semi-final series.

The win earned Ahli a clean sweep of their match-up, after also taking their first meeting 111-100. Ahli are now set to face off with Khalifa bin Salman Cup holders Manama, who have already booked their berth in the title-decider.

That game is scheduled for May 3. Manama, who are also the defending league champions, advanced following their own two-game triumph over Al Hala in the other final four head-tohead.

In last night’s win, Ahli roared back from an early deficit in the fourth quarter en route to coming away with the win.

Young guard Ali Hussain Mohammed came off the bench and provided a spark for the victors. He hit a three-pointer that made it 78-77 with just over five minutes remaining in the contest.

And then after Ricky Ledo buried two free-throws for Muharraq, James Ennis III put Ahli back in front for good with his own triple that made it 81-79.

Mohammed added to their lead with another long-range conversion, and Ahli were able to hold on from there, with Muharraq coming no closer than three points the rest of the way.

Triple-double Ennis finished as the game’s leading scorer with 30 points.

He nearly had a triple-double, also grabbing 10 rebounds while dishing out eight assists.

Arnett Moultrie chipped in with 22 points and 11 boards, while Hesham Sarhan finished with 17 and Ahmed Aldurazi had 14. Mohammed scored nine points for Ahli, all from beyond the arc, as he was their only substitute to make it onto the score sheet.

Tyler Wilkerson had 23 to pace Muharraq in defeat, while Ledo added 22. Both Bader Abdulla Malabes and Hussain Salman scored 15 apiece in the game.

Ahli were the early aggressors in the contest, taking a 25-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But Muharraq fought back in the second and went up 41- 36 on a Salman driving lay-up, spurring his team on to a 44-38 edge at the half. Muharraq stayed in control in the third and headed into the final frame up 71-68 despite Ahli outscoring them in the period. That set the stage for the big shots from Mohammed and Ennis for Ahli.

After a Wilkerson basket made it 94-97 with 29 seconds to go, Ahli sealed their win with an alley-oop slam dunk from Ennis to Moultrie with 23.7 seconds on the clock.

Ennis then pegged the final score from the charity stripe. Manama won last year’s Khalifa bin Salman Cup after defeating Muharraq 75-72 in the final.

The result marked the second time Manama won the prestigious trophy. Their first was in the 2017/2018 season.