Darius Rice shines in Manama win

MANAMA remained unbeaten in the main round of the Zain Bahrain Basketball Cup following a 99-71 victory over Sitra at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam. New American import Darius Rice guided the victors last night with an impressive 40 points, including six three-pointers, which proved decisive.

It was the third successive win in as many games for Manama who stayed on course for reaching the best-of-three final.

Manama headed into the game needing victory to move a step closer towards securing one of the top two spots in the main round and a berth in the best-of-three finals.

Under their recently-appointed coach John Rabidou of the US, Manama were indeed on fire as they dominated the game right from the start, taking a 7-0 lead in the early stages of the first quarter, which ended in their favour 29-12.

Sitra showed composure in the second quarter and cut Manama's lead by six points and were trailing 38-49 at the interval.

But Manama maintained their momentum in the third quarter and, with a combination of solid defence and accurate finishing, extended their advantage to 74-61.

There was little that Sitra could do in the fourth and final quarter, which was ruled by their opponents who stretched the lead to 28 points for an enormous victory.

The victory helped Manama move up two points clear in the table with six points. They are ahead of defending champions Muharraq, who are also unbeaten after two matches.

National team trio of Mahmood Ghuloom, Ahmed Al Mutawa and Mohammed Hassan were the stars for the victors, scoring crucial points in the closing stages of the game.

Sitra, who suffered their second defeat in three games, watched their bid to regain the only title they had won four years ago go up in smoke.
The team in red jerseys were relying on their American professional Williard Crews who managed 22 points.

Meanwhile, cup action continues today with two matches in the third week, commencing at 6pm when bottom club Isa Town seek their maiden win against third-placed Al Ahli.

That will be followed by what promises to be an interesting encounter between Muharraq and Al Hala at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA) has fined Manama Club BD1,000 and also banned the team's supporters from attending the club's next matches against Al Hala.

The decision, made due to Manama fans' riot during their cup game against Al Hala last Saturday, was announced during the BBA's meeting, chaired by president and Parliament Member Adel Al Assomi.

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