MANAMA (Bahrain) – It was destiny fulfilled.
Touted as the favorites early on in the season, Kuwait Club swept their way into becoming the inaugural WASL-Gulf champions by finishing off Manama in the Finals’ Game 2, 95-85, Monday night at the Khalifa Sport City at the Bahraini capital.
Game heroes: Marcus Georges-Hunt starred in the golden finish with 35 points, 14 of which he made in the final period to ward off the home team and lead his side in clinching the championship through a historic 10-game sweep of the tournament.
The STEP AHEAD Player of the Game shot an impressive 71-percent from the floor and also had 6 rebounds and 7 assists in a sterling performance.
Cody Lalanne delivered another big game as well with 18 points and 14 rebounds, along with a pair of assists, a steal, and a game-high 3 blocks.
Hamad Hasan made quite an impact with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Omran Jawhar supplied 10 markers and 7 boards off the bench.
Turning point: Manama actually came back from as much as 13 down and took a 68-64 lead early in the fourth quarter behind the hurt Lamont Jones and Mosti Rashed.
Hasan and Lalanne, though, joined forces for a quick scoring run to give Kuwait Club the lead back, 71-68, approaching the seven-minute mark, and the momentum would shift their way as Georges-Hunt took over from there.
The veteran forward powered the key 14-3 run for an 85-74 lead with 1:56 left to play, and would go on to help out Lalanne and Omran Jawhar in applying the finishing touches by making the most out of their trips to the line.
Stats don’t lie: A team that shot 48-percent from the field, the bigger Kuwait Club dominated the battle of the boards, 47-34, including 14 on the offensive end that most of which led to 13 second chance points.
They said: “It’s very special, especially because we didn’t lose a game — in the league, and in the playoffs. We knew before we came here that it wouldn’t be easy … but I think we’re well-prepared. It was not a very pretty game but it was a good win in the Final game, and the right guys came through in the right time.” – Peter Schomers, Head Coach, Kuwait Club
“Our thing was I had to come out and just play hard the same way I do every game. Sometimes it may be my game, sometimes it may be Cady’s game, sometimes it may be Hamad’s game. The thing about our team, you just never know who’s gonna go, who’s gonna get after it. But when we’re all clicking, we become a very dangerous team.” – Marcus Georges-Hunt, Kuwait Club
“But I’m proud of my players with what we did … Manama was here and fought for the championship. I’m extremely proud. Even after the loss, I’m not that sad today. I’m proud of our journey, and that we are also playing in June for the WASL Final 8.” – Linos Gavriel, Head Coach, Manama
“I’m extremely proud of our team to just be in the Final, I think we could do a better job, of course, but am proud of my teammates, my coaches, and everybody in the club. Even the fans. They travelled away games with us mostly. We had a roller-coaster season. To be honest, we’re not supposed to be here if you wanna go from the beginning of the season. But we’re here. We fell short, it feels bad of course, but I’m proud of my team.” – Ahmed Haji, Manama