AL Ahli last night pulled off a miraculous recovery to upset Muharraq and revive their hopes of qualifying for the Golden Four stage of this year's Zain Bahrain Basketball League.
The 79-78 result was secured thanks to the final basket of the night from Maitheem Jameel with less than two seconds left on the clock. Remarkably, it was only the second time over the duration of the match that Al Ahli found themselves in front on the scoreboard.
Muharraq went into last night's match at the Zain Bahrain Basketball Arena as overwhelming favourites but Al Ahli got off to a promising start, pushing their opponents into defensive mode.
That defensive unit however, was one that, having excelled throughout the season, was at its stubborn best last night and, after soaking up a couple of minutes' pressure from Al Ahli, it was in fact Muharraq veteran Ahmed Mallala who opened the scoring.
Indeed they were the first of eight without response for Muharraq until a time-out call from Al Ahli coach Brian Lester approaching the five-minute mark initiated a response from his charges and they closed out the quarter 21-14 down.
With all of Muharraq's leading lights on the court from the off, the second period saw the introduction of some fresh legs but, impressively, it didn't seem to stem the rhythm or scoring rate at all and headed for the locker rooms at half-time leading 41-31.
Al Ahli once again started brightly upon the resumption but, having closed to within five points, Muharraq's number one line-up returned to the fray to restore the ten-point cushion and maintain it to the end of the quarter, which finished 60-50.
Another Al Ahli flourish at the start of the fourth saw them heap the pressure on Muharraq and, amazingly, they went ahead for the first time of the night with three and a half minutes left to provide what had been a fairly uninspiring event up to that point with a hectic climax.
Muharraq edged ahead again in the final minute and, with possession secured, they looked to close out the game but a vital turnover saw the ball moved up the court where Jameel, after an initial burst from Mahmood Akbar, leapt to glory.
The final round of the Top Six stage gets underway tomorrow night with Manama, Al Hala, Muharraq and Al Ahli all still in contention to join Sitra, who qualified with an 81-49 thumping of Isa Town on Saturday, in the top four.