Three-pointers played a decisive role in giving the defending champions; The Bahraini Manama team had the required advantage to emerge victorious over its host Shabab Al-Ahly with a score of (73-67), the day before yesterday in Dubai, in the third round of the first leg of the preliminary round of the second group of the Gulf region in the (Super West-Asia) Basketball League.
Al-Manama of Bahrain was alone at the top of the group with a full score of six points, while Shabab Al-Ahly suffered its first loss, causing it to fall to second place with five points, three points behind both Kazma of Kuwait and Al-Shamal of Qatar, who shared last place.
Bahrain’s players succeeded in shooting three-pointers at a rate of 45%, and scored nine shots out of 20 attempts, while Shabab Al-Ahly scored two shots out of 18 attempts, with a success rate of only 11%.
The Bahrainis also benefited from their slight superiority in two-point shots, 54%, compared to 52% for Shabab Al-Ahly, and compensated for the weaknesses that Manama suffered throughout the stages of the match. The Bahrainis wasted the ball on 23 occasions, compared to 18 for the “Knights of Basketball.”
In a close match, Shabab Al-Ahly missed the opportunity to end the first half, leading by one point (35-34), after the first quarter, which Shabab Al-Ahly ended with (17-16), and the second quarter, which ended in a draw (18-18), before The second half witnessed the brilliance of the Bahraini players in three-pointers, especially its young star, Mustafa Rashid, which allowed Manama to gain the advantage in the results of the third and fourth quarters (19-14 and 20-18) and emerge victorious in the match.
For the second match in a row, Mustafa Rashid (21 years old) continued to catch the eye, scoring 29 points in the Shabab Al-Ahly basket, including 18 points from three-pointers, in addition to his contribution to four rebounds and two decisive passes to his teammates, in technical statistics combined that were enough to give him the title of best. Player of the match, while American professional Nicholas Minthrat shined for Shabab Al-Ahly by scoring 26 points and 10 rebounds. Tunisian Shabab Al-Ahly coach Walid Zoraida said during the press conference after the match: “We achieved victory over Kazma and Al-Shamal, and today’s loss does not weaken our chances of qualifying for the second round.”
He explained: “The team’s focus is primarily on qualifying for the second round of the tournament, whether we are at the top or runner-up in the group, especially since we will play at home in the Al-Shamal and Kazma matches in the second leg, before heading in our last match to Bahrain to meet Manama.”
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