Abdul Rahman Ghali and Younis Kuwayed helped Riffa overcome Al Hala 78-68 in a Group B game of the Bahrain Basketball Association Cup at Zain Arena in Um Al Hassam last night.
Ghali scored 30 points and Kuwayed contributed 20 as Riffa bounced back after briefly falling behind their opponents.
The opening session saw both teams battling to get the upper hand, but neither managed to cut loose with Riffa edging ahead by just one point at the end of the quarter (16-15).
The second quarter raised the intensity of the game with Hala staging a recovery after a deficit of nine points.
A couple of free throws by Da’Quan Cook and a layup by Saif Matar took Hala to 23 from 19 and the duo added four more points before Matar’s jump shot placed the team just three points behind Riffa at half-time (29-32).
After the interval, Cook and Hussain Jan took Hala ahead 33-32 but Riffa seized lead again before Cook lifted his team to 38-36 through a three-pointer and a layup.
Hala raised hopes of a memorable comeback win when they led 43-36 in the third quarter, but Ghali and Kuwayed kept Riffa in contention as they narrowed down their opponents’ lead to just two and eventually grabbed a two-point advantage at the end of the canto.
Riffa moved ahead in the final quarter and a three-pointer by Kuwayed gave them an 11-point lead, which they managed to maintain for the rest of the game.
Cook was Hala’s top scorer with 27 points. Matar scored 12 points and Jan supplied 10.
This was Hala’s first defeat in the Cup, after having posted comfortable victories over Samaheej and Isa Town in their earlier games.
Despite yesterday’s defeat, Hala’s coach Salah Ahmed Al Haddad looked unperturbed and had already set his sights on the games ahead.
“We are planning to beef up our attack. A new player from the US will be joining us in a few days,” said Al Haddad.
In a Group A game later in the evening, Sitra held off Al Ettihad 87-71.
Sitra never allowed their opponents to grab the lead with Ettihad fumbling in their shots and messing up their passes, never looking like the team that defeated Al Ahli with a fine teamwork last week.
Abdulla Ali led the scoring for the winners with 23 points. He was followed by Milos Macura with 18 points and Mahdi Abdulameer with 15.
Hasssan Ghanim scored 18 points for Ettihad which included four three-pointers. The other major scorers were Ali Ghadeer (15) and Hassan Fahad (11).
Manama v Isa Town (5.30pm)
Bahrain Club v Samaheej (7.15pm)