BAHRAIN bounced back from a disheartening loss to Saudi Arabia on Sunday with an 87-51 demolition of Oman last night in their final game of this current phase in the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers.
The Bahrainis raced out to a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back, extending their advantage to 41-22 at the break.
Displaying a high level of energy and confidence that was missing in their previous outing, they cruised in the second half and enjoyed leads as big as their final winning margin of 36 points.
The Bahrainis shot an improved 35-for-79 from the field in the game, including 12-of-42 from beyond the three-point line. They also rotated the ball well, registering 31 assists while committing just 14 turnovers, and they maximised their advantage in speed and quickness in racking up 28 fast-break points with Oman only registering six.
Top scoring for Bahrain was the backcourt tandem of Ahmed Hassan and Bader Abdulla Malabes. They had 15 points apiece, and they buried seven triples between them, with Hassan firing in four.
Big man Ali Shukrallah also had a fine game for the nationals. He finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Ahmed Abdulaziz came off the bench and put in a fine all-around effort of 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Nouh Al Amri paced Oman with 14 points in the losing effort. He was their only player in double figures.
In yesterday’s other contest at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam, the UAE survived a late scare to defeat Saudi Arabia 90-81 in overtime.
Saudi made a furious rally in the fourth quarter, battling back from 20 points down to tie the score at 77-apiece and force the game into an overtime session. Ahmed Almukhtar scored on a lay-up to forge the deadlock with only seven seconds remaining.
In the extra session, however, it was all UAE, as they outscored their Saudi rivals 13-4.
Qais Alshehabi led the Emiratis with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Marzouq Almuwallad paced Saudi with 20 points.
Following yesterday’s results, all three teams – Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – finished with 2-1 win-loss records. Oman were winless. They all now move on to the second phase in qualifiers, which will be another single round-robin against one another in Dubai this June.
These two stages are a part of the new Fiba Competition System and Calendar. The Pre-Qualifiers will determine which teams will join the Main Qualification Process, beginning in November of next year, for the Fiba Asia Cup 2021.