BAHRAIN last night salvaged some pride beating the UAE 76-67 to finish third in the GCC Basketball Championship in Kuwait City while Saudi Arabia got the better of Kuwait 92-83 to lift this prestigious regional crown, reports Vijay Mruthyunjaya.
The roller-coaster ride finally ended on a happy note for Bahrain after having suffered heart burns losing three straight matches, including the semi-final against the Saudis on Saturday.
Bahrain looked a totally transformed side and dominated the third-place match against the UAE, whom they had beating in their opening group match 71-53.
Bahrain ended the tournament with three wins and three loses while the fifth side in the fray Qatar finished last without a victory.
Bahrain were off to another hot start and pressed hard on the accelerator with a little less than four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Reds scored 12 points in this period compared to their opponents five to take an encouraging 10-point lead - 28-18 - at the end of the first quarter.
The UAE hit back in the second winning it 22-17 but Bahrain were back to their dominant best and won the third 18-13 to restore the 10-point lead going into the last canto.
They maintained that handsome lead for most of the last quarter before sealing the match with much to spare.
Chester Jarell Giles was once again the most influential player on court top scoring with 29 points while Mohammed Buallay (12) was the only other Bahraini into double figures.
For the UAE, Mohammed Albreiki (21) top scored while Jasim Mohammed Abdalla (13) and Talal Salem Alnuaimi (12) lend him good support.
In the final, Saudi Arabia maintained a steady lead after a good first quarter which they won 28-15.
Though Kuwait staged a late rally winning the last quarter 30-24, they could not undo the early damage.
Mathna Almarwani top scored with 25 while Khalid Abdel Gabar contributed 23.
For Kuwait, Abdulla Alshammari set the pace with 18 points while Rashed Alrabah (16) and (Saleh Albrahim (15) were the other main contributors.