MANAMA and Riffa last night continued their relentless march in the Bahrain Basketball Association Cup with another emphatic victory each at Zain Arena in Um Al Hassam, reports Vijay Mruthyunjaya.
But the victories were starkly contrasting as Manama had to dig deep to thwart a spirited challenge of Al Hala 109-98 while Riffa just brushed aside a lackadaisical Samaheej without working a sweat 95-53, both Group ‘B’ matches.
Manama were again first off the blocks as they grabbed the initiative early on and build on it with increasing confidence.
They won the first quarter 27-20 and narrowly lost the second 23-25, but the Zain Bahrain Premier League leaders with 11 wins from 11 matches, flexed their muscles in the third to win it by a massive margin 37-23 which in the ultimate analysis made the all the difference.
Al Hala, who are third in the premier league with nine wins from 11 matches, put up a spirited fight in the last canto, but the big lead Manama had managed to build at the end of the third quarter proved a bridge too far.
American import Christopher McKnight was once again a pillar of strength under both the boards as he scored 35 points, including two three pointers, nine rebounds and five assists.
He was well assisted by Mohammed Hussain (22), Hasan Nowrooz (21) and Mohammed Jassim (14).
For Al Hala, Mohammed Salah and Da’Quan Cook did the bulk of the scoring contributing 22 points each while Ahmed Khalifa was the other main scorer with 20.
The second match, by contrast, was a dull affair as it literally turned into an one-way traffic with Riffa just stream rolling past Samaheej.
They were 22-8 ahead by the end of the first quarter and sunk another 22 points in the second to lead 44-17 by half-time.
Though Samajeeh put up a slightly better performance in the third and fourth quarters, it hardly made any difference because it was too little too late.
Riffa made the best of the opportunity as they rotated all their players and gave some much needed rest to the stalwarts.
Joseph Jones played for 27 minutes and scored 20 points while Abdulrahman Ghali (23 minutes, 11 points) was used even more sparingly.
Mohammed Khalid (18) and Ali Jassim (10) were the other main scorers.
For Samaheej, Antwan Wilkerson waged a lone battle top scoring with 26 points, including four three pointers, 10 rebounds and four assists.
The only other player to reach double figures was Hussain Busafwan (11).
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