Gulf Daily News - 21/9/2006
BAHRAIN failed to book a berth in the Asian Basketball Championship following a heavy 93-71 defeat to the UAE in the 10th GCC Championship which concluded yesterday at the Al Gharrafa Club gym in Doha.
The Bahrainis played one of their worst matches in this round robin championship and missed a glorious chance to qualify for the Asian finals after finishing fourth overall on seven points from five matches.
The top three teams in the championship - hosts Qatar, reigning champions Saudi Arabia and the UAE qualified for the Asian Championship to be held in Japan next July.
Bahrain and the UAE, the only two sides with a chance for a third-place finish, went into last night's decider with an equal record of six points each from four matches. Kuwait claimed fifth position on six points from five matches and Oman last on four points after losing all their five games.
The Bahrainis started with playmaker Ahmed Mirza along with Mohammed Najaf, Ahmed Al Mutawa and three-point experts Mohammed Hassan and Mahmood Ghuloom 'Mash'.
Al Mutawa was Bahrain's top scorer with 23 points. Hassan (16), Mash (2), Qurban (9), Hussain Taqi (8), Alam (2) and Najaf (1) were also on target.
But Bahrain were unable to keep the UAE players at bay as they took a 10-point lead (29-19) in the first quarter thanks to their two-metre giant Ebrahim Abdulla who did the bulk of scoring.
In the second quarter, Bahrain managed to cut the UAE's lead to six points (41-35) at half-time with Qurban, Hassan and Mash capitalising on their fast break efforts.
Bahrain's coach Salman Ramadan made some tactical changes in the third quarter and Bahrain reduced the deficit to 55-50 but the team in red soon committed a string of personal fouls and the UAE took full advantage to stretch their lead to 69-53 at the end of the quarter.
The UAE maintained their lead in the fourth quarter through Salem Mubarak, Khalifa Al Shaiba Jassim Abdulreda and Ayoob Ahmed who scored from all over the court to secured the outcome with a 27-point margin in the last two minutes.