Bahrain powered to a resounding 71-53 victory over the UAE last night to make a winning start to the Gulf Basketball Association (GBA) Men’s National Teams Championship, which tipped off yesterday in Kuwait City.
After beginning the game strongly and building a commanding early lead, the Bahrainis allowed their opponents back in the contest. But they took control once again towards the end with a 15-2 blitz starting the fourth quarter, which gave them a 21-point cushion and they were able to close the game out from there.
The Bahrainis, coached by Serbian Darko Russo, raced out to a quick 16-6 lead at the beginning of the game and were up 21-9 to end the opening period. The Emiratis narrowed the gap in the second quarter but Bahrain still had a 34-27 advantage heading into the half-time break. In a low-scoring third, the UAE fought back to within 33-34 following an Omer Khalid jump shot, but the Bahrainis replied with seven unanswered points which helped them take a 46-38 lead into the fourth quarter. That set the stage for their game-changing rally, which was capped by a Buallay basket that made it 61-40 with just over five minutes remaining.
The nationals enjoyed their biggest lead at 24 points the rest of the way. Bahrain will be looking to continue their winning ways when they play Qatar today at 5 pm. The Emiratis will be hoping to bounce back against their Saudi Arabia counterparts at 7 pm this evening.