BAHRAIN were minutes away from clinching the title of the 13th GCC Junior Basketball Championship last night, when their game against Kuwait was called off due to a brawl that broke out between members of both teams.
With just two minutes and 17 seconds remaining on the game clock and Bahrain enjoying a comfortable 62-52 advantage, a fight broke out after Kuwait's Hussain Busheri made a hard foul on Bahrain's Mohammed Buallay.
Buallay and teammates took exception to the unnecessary play and soon both benches cleared and other players, along with team officials, were involved in the fracas. Punches were thrown.
Security officers at the venue were able to prevent the fight from escalating further, but after order was restored, the Kuwaiti contingent stormed out of the playing court and officials were forced to call the game.
The tournament's technical and organising committee were scheduled to meet late last night to decide the outcome of the contest and the penalties to be issued to both teams.
Bahrain led the contest 16-14 at the end of the opening period. They continued to lead 29-28 at the half, and then used a strong third quarter to move further in front, 50-46.
Bahrain play their final game today against the UAE. Depending on the decision of the tournament committees after the fight, the game could help decide the championship. The tie is scheduled to get underway at 4pm, Bahrain time.
The Bahrainis had previously won all three of their opening games, kick starting their campaign with a 78-43 victory over Qatar, and then following it up with a 72-60 win over Saudi Arabia. They then inched closer to realising their title dreams with a 78-63 triumph over Oman, which set the stage for last night's clash against Kuwait.