Manama will face US club side NBA G Team Ignite in the fifth-place playoff of the 2023 Fiba Intercontinental Cup in Singapore today.
The Bahraini club and Ignite both ended up last in their respective three-team groups of the short tournament with the format dictating that the third-placed teams in Group A (Ignite, in this case) and Group B (Manama) would play each other in the fifth-place playoff.
Egyptian club Al Ahly, who finished second in Group A, and Chinese side Zhejiang Golden Bulls, who also placed second in Group B, will play each other later in the third-place play-off.
The final will be contested by Brazilian team Sesi Franca, who topped Group A with two straight wins, and German club Telekom Baskets Bonn, who won both their Group B matches by huge margins.
For Manama, who came into the tournament riding a wave of success after winning three titles at the end of the 2022-23 season – the inaugural West Asia Super League (WASL), the Zain Basketball League and the Khalifa bin Salman Cup – the Intercontinental Cup turned out to be a bit of a reality check.
They were trounced 105-50 by Telekom in their opening game last Thursday before being beaten again, this time by the Bulls, who scrapped their way to a 95-78 win on Friday.
Ironically, the Bulls were put out to pasture themselves by Telekom in their next game on Saturday with the German club winning 111-50 and Manama probably finding some solace in the fact that another team had suffered the same fate as they had.
However, the Bahraini club will have a chance to redeem themselves against Ignite today as they seek to finish the tournament with a win.
Ignite haven’t had a good time of it themselves, going down to Al Ahly 82-76 on Thursday in a shock defeat and losing to Sesi Franca 98-89 the next day, so they will probably go equally hard for a face-saving victory.
Manama did create history, though, along with the Bulls with the two teams becoming the first Asian sides to take part in the tournament, which featured six teams for the very first time – a change from the four-team format for the competition since it started in 1966.