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Gritty Muharraq edge out Al Ahli - Jul 9, 2012


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Chester
Giles
UGLY scenes at the Zain Bahrain Basketball Arena in Umm Al Hassam last night almost threatened to overshadow what had otherwise been another enthralling encounter between Muharraq and Al Ahli in the battle for league honours.

Tempers were calmed just in time however, to see Muharraq bask in the satisfaction of having drawn level at one game apiece in what has already established itself as a gripping best-of-five match series with a 92-90 victory.

Having dominated almost the entirety of the opening game of the series at the same venue on Thursday night, Muharraq let Al Ahli draw level with just over a minute to go and then utterly capitulated in extra time to hand their opponents what had seemed a highly unlikely win.

It was Al Ahli who enjoyed the better of the early exchanges last night as they pushed out to a 23-20 first quarter lead.

Although it took a bit longer this time, Muharraq did find their stride and controlled much of the proceedings thereafter to open up a 43-38 half-time advantage that had grown to a seemingly unassailable 74-60 lead with ten minutes left to play..

An eerie sense of dj vu befell the arena as in the closing seconds however, as Al Ahli somehow managed to claw their way level again but this time, Muharraq kept their composure and found the goods to produce the match-winning score for Mohammed Majeed.

With the scores standing at 92-87 in Muharraq's favour and with only six seconds on the clock, there was, rather amazingly, still time for some more drama.

Firstly, Mahmood Akbar nailed a superb three-pointer to close the gap to two virtually on the sound of the buzzer but the drama really kicked off as the Al Ahli contingent were adamant they should also have been awarded a free that wasn't given.

Some barracking of the officials, as is always the case, made no difference to the decision but did spark a less-than-savoury response from the Muharraq faithful, which in turn snowballed to their opposing fans and then onto the court.

With a welcome dose of common sense, calm was restored and both teams subsequently took the opportunity to express their thanks to their faithful followers.

Ahmed Hassan (Muharraq) and Mohammed Qurban (187-F-87) (Al Ahli) finished as the top-scorers for their sides on the night with 26 points apiece respectively.

There also telling contributions from American stars Chester Giles (211-F/C-85, college: Oregon St.), who scored 25 for Muharraq, and Johnny Anthony, who bagged 24 for al Ahli.

The two sides will do it all again in the third match of the series from 7pm on Wednesday night, with the fourth and fifth instalments scheduled for July 14 and 17.
Courtesy of: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com
  




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