Manama pulled off an incredible, come-from-behind 82-81 win at Khalifa Sport City against arch-rivals Muharraq to be crowned the Zain Bahrain Basketball League champions last night.
All had seemed lost for Manama as the high-intensity third play-off ticked into its final minute with Muharraq leading 79-74.
But, somehow, the Manama players rallied, scrounging precious points until the final few seconds of the game arrived, with Muharraq still ahead 81-79.
Manama’s Devin Ebanks then created one of the most memorable events in sporting history as he scored a literal last-gasp three-pointer to help
his side gain a one-point lead over Muharraq with just a second left to play.
Suddenly – and against all odds – Manama were ahead 82-81.
After a short time-out, Muharraq needed to try and create some magic of their own in the second they had. And Sammy Monroe almost made it count, trying for a two-pointer that would have sealed the win for his team. But his attempt fell just agonisingly short, bouncing off the basket’s rim as the buzzer went off and the Manama players began to celebrate.
The two teams had entered the last game of the three-match final play-offs tied 1-1 after Muharraq won the first match and Manama clinched the second.
With all to play for, both teams refused to give an inch as the first quarter saw Manama draw ahead 26-23 and maintain a slim lead with 43-40 at the end of the second.
By the time the third quarter ended, Manama had managed to hold on to their slender advantage at 60-56.
But Muharraq were not giving up and, buoyed by stellar performances by the impressive Hussain Shaker and Dewayne Jackson, clawed their way back into contention.
Suddenly, they had surged ahead of Manama and must have thought the trophy was their’s until Ebanks decided to turn the game on its head.
As the champions began to celebrate, an unpleasant altercation between some Muharraq and Manama players threatened to sour the occasion. But the situation was quickly diffused and, soon, the winners’ shouts of jubilation resounded around the arena as captain Mohammed Hussain lifted the trophy.
It was just a shame the fans were not able to join in the celebrations as the game was played behind closed doors.
As reported on GDNonline yesterday the authorities made the decision after crowd trouble erupted at the end of the second of three games.
Noisy celebrations instead took place late into last night with supporters waving flags and honking car horns across Manama and close to the team’s home in Juffair.
Manama will now set sights on the second title of the season when they clash with Riffa in the final of the Khalifa Bin Salman Cup, to be played next Monday at Khalifa Sport City.