MUHARRAQ outclassed Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia 88-73 yesterday in their opening Group ‘B’ game of the 38th GCC Clubs Basketball Championship in Muscat.
This event is also the FIBA Asia Champions Cup GBA Qualifiers.
After a see-saw first-half, Muharraq took control of the contest in the final two quarters and enjoyed leads by as many as 16 points.
American professional Demarius Bolds scored 29 points, including 13 in the first quarter alone. He buried three three-pointers and also had five rebounds and five assists.
Muharraq’s other import, Sudanese-born Australian-Lebanese big man Ater Majok ended the game with a double-double. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Bahraini superstar Bader Abdulla Malabes chipped in with a 19 points, including an impressive five-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Backcourt mate Ali Abbas contributed another 14 markers as Muharraq’s fourth player in double-figures.
Power forward Ali Shukrallah also had a fine outing. He scored just four points but was instrumental in other areas, taking down 11 rebounds while dishing out five assists and registering two steals before fouling out.
Pacing Ittihad was towering centre Marko Dujkovijk, who had a monster game of 20 points and 18 rebounds in the loss. American guard Watkins Williams II finished with 14 markers.
Muharraq opened the game strong and led 16-9 before closing the first period up 24-20. Ittihad came alive and managed to wrest the lead in the second quarter, but Abbas raced down the court to make a fast-break layup that beat the half-time buzzer to help give his team a slim 40-39 advantage heading into the break.
But later it was all Muharraq. They took a double-digit lead at 56-45 with a Malabes basket and stayed in control until the final buzzer.
Muharraq’s next game is against Al Arabi of Qatar on Thursday.
Bahrain’s other representative in the competition, Manama, are in action today against Sharjah at 3pm, Bahrain time.
Manama, Bahrain’s five-time defending league champions, have bolstered their roster with the addition of seven-foot, two-inch NBA veteran Loren Woods and six-foot, one-inch American guard Terrell Stoglin, who is a prolific scorer in the shooting guard position.
Woods and Stoglin boost an all-Bahraini Manama cast that mirrors that of Bahrain’s senior men’s national team roster, with the likes of Ahmed Abdulaziz, Mohammed Kuwayed, Maytham Jameel, Hassan Nowrooz, Mohammed Ameer, Ahmed Najaf and skipper Mohammed Hussain, to name a few.