AL Najma last night pulled off a thrilling upset victory over title-favourites Muharraq 99-95 in the Bahrain Basketball Association Cup at the Zain Arena in Umm-ul-Hassam, reports Vijay Mruthyunjaya.
It was an enthralling encounter as Al Najma flexed their muscles when it mattered the most and eventually punched above their weights in registering a well-deserved victory.
Lead changed hands frequently and fortunes fluctuated right till the end. But Al Najma held their nerves at crucial stages in the final quarter and won it by seven points (21-14) which in the ultimate analysis separated the two teams.
Muharraq, who are second in the Zain Bahrain Premier League with 20 points from 11 matches, just one point behind unbeaten Manama, grabbed the early initiative winning the first of the all four high-scoring quarters 28-25.
Al Najma, sixth in the league table with 17 points from 11 matches, hit back winning the second 27-22 for a narrow 52-50 lead at half-time.
Muharraq were in command again in the third quarter winning it 31-26 for a narrow 81-78 lead by the end of the third quarter.
It all boiled down to the final quarter and it is here that Al Najma put their best foot forward and won it emphatically 21-14 for a 99-95 victory which can prove decisive in the run to the title.
Haminn Quantance and Ali Jaber were the architects of Al Najma’s famous victory scoring 30 and 31 points respectively while Mohammed Albosta contributed 15 points and Hassan Jaber eight.
Kevin Murphy was the hero for Muharraq in a lost cause as he top scored with 38 points, including five three pointers, 15 rebounds and 12 assists.
Sayed Mohammed Hameed (19, 3 three pointers) and Ahmed Aldurazi (16, 3 three pointers) were the other main scorers.
Twelve teams, divided into two groups, are taking part in the championship. Group ‘A’ consists of Muharraq, Al Ahli, Ettihad, Nuwaidrat, Sitra and Al Najma.
Riffa, Manama, Samaheej, Al Hala, Bahrain Club and Isa Town are in Group ‘B’.
5.30 pm: Al Ahli vs Sitra