AL NAJMA and Nuwaidrat were both victorious last night to get the 20th week of action underway in the Zain Bahrain Basketball League.
Najma surprised heavily favoured Al Hala 92-76 while Nuwaidrat outclassed Bahrain Club 78-64, both at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam.
Najma closed out strong in their game against Hala, using a 25-point fourth quarter to help them pull away from their rivals.
They had earlier held a slim 19-17 lead after the first quarter which they extended to 44-40 at the half. After three it was 67-59, paving the way for the final canto where they left Hala with no chance of a comeback.
Najma enjoyed a balanced attack in the contest with all five of their starters scoring in double-figures.
Qassim Hassan led the way with 26 points while playing all 40 minutes of the contest. He took 11 free-throws and made an impressive nine, and also dished out seven assists.
American professional Haminn Quaintance added 22 markers and 14 rebounds. He almost had a rare triple-double in the game, finishing with eight assists. He also had four blocks and two steals in an impressive all-around effort.
Abbas Jawadi chipped in 16 points, Hassan Jaber had 11 and Mohammed Buallay had 10, including seven rebounds and seven assists.
Hasan Gerashi top scored for Hala in the losing effort. He had 22 points and seven rebounds.
US import Loren Woods was held to just 16 markers. He also contributed 19 rebounds and six blocked shots.
With the result, Najma improved to an 11-7 win-loss record and 29 points on the league standings. Hala dropped to a 12-6 mark and have 30 points.
In yesterday’s other game, Nuwaidrat started and finished strong in their 14-point win over Bahrain Club.
After taking a 26-18 lead at the end of the opening period, they allowed Bahrain Club back to within 37-43 at the half and then 55-59 at the end of the third quarter.
But after getting as close to within a point, 58-59, on a Nooh Qaedi three-pointer, a 10-5 run by Nuwaidrat blew the close game wide open. They then did well to hold on to their lead all the way to the final whistle.
Serbian professional Mile Ilic led five players in double-figures with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Ebrahim Albasri added 16 points, Hussain and Ahmed Hasan had 11 and Jawad Abdulla finished with 10. Abdulla also had nine assists in the win.
For Bahrain Club, Jalal Akbar came off the bench to finish as the top scorer with 27 points while American import Merrill Holden had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Nuwaidrat improved to a 13-6 win-loss card with 32 points, whereas Bahrain Club dropped to a 6-13 mark on 25 points.
League action continues today with Manama facing Sitra Club at 6pm followed by Muhraraq taking on Isa Town at 7.45pm.