MUHARRAQ last night raced to the top of the table in the Zain Bahrain Basketball League (Top Six) with their third successive victory beating Al Najma 110-86 at the Zain Basketball Arena in Umm-ul-Hassam.
In another entertaining match, Al Ahli pipped Al Hala 93-89 to stay second with five points from two wins from three matches.
Last night’s results stirred the competition further with the race for the semi-final spots getting more complex if not intense while the battle for survival in the Top Six tougher.
Muharraq were clearly the biggest winners of the night as they once again proved their title credentials in no uncertain terms, winning all four quarters with relative ease, and the match with minimum fuss – 19-16, 33-23, 24-22, 34-25.
Al Najma lagged behind right through and all their efforts to match their more superior opponents went in vain.
American import Kevin Murphy played his customary role yet again leading Muharraq to another victory, almost single handedly.
The giant scoring machine was the undisputed hero of the night, scoring 34 points, including three three-pointers, 15 rebounds and four assists.
Mohammed Nasser (15), Ali Rabea (12), Mohammed Buallay (11) and Sayed Kadhem Majed (10) were the other main contributors. Ali Jaffar (20) and Ali Jaber (19) battled for Al Najma while Hussain Mohammed (15), Fadaallah Abbas (11) and Qassim Hassan (10) lend them some good support.
In the other match, Al Ahli staged a spirited fightback after a shaky start, losing the first quarter 24-27 and the second 20-23 to going into the half-time break in some relative distress, trailing 44-50.
But they reentered with renewed energy and bounced back with a vengeance.
They steadily bridged the gap and, for good measure, took a narrow but reassuring one-point lead at the end of the third quarter 71-70. More pertinently, they maintained that momentum, in the last quarter when the match was on a knife’s edge with lead changing hands frequently and fortunes fluctuating wildly.
Both the teams went all out in front of a appreciate crowd but in the end Al Ahli’s patience and perseverance paid off as they won the last canto 22-19 and with it the match.
With this victory, Al Ahli almost sealed their place in the semi-finals while Al Hala crashed to the bottom of the table with their third successive defeat.
Manama are third on the table with two wins from two successive games and Riffa fourth on three points from two matches.
The top four move into the semi-finals while the bottom two slip into the silver league.
Dexter Pittman and Hesham Sarhan masterminded Al Ahli’s brilliant victory contributing 30 and 28 points respectively.
Mohammed Qurban lend them splendid support scoring 23 points, including five three pointers.
Mansour Kasse waged a lone battle for Al Hala scoring 31 points while Hussain Salman (21) and Hasan Gerashi (12) and Ahmed Al Motawa (12) were the other main contributors.
Silver League - 5.45pm: Bahrain Club vs Al Ettihad.
Top Six - 7.30pm: Manama vs Riffa (7.30pm)