The second day of the West Asia Qualifying Tournament began with Kuwait and the UAE facing off. A dominant performance the Kuwaitis in the first half saw them quickly establish a 10-point lead in the first period, before shutting down the UAE in the second holding them to just 5 points for the quarter and going into halftime up by 21. Kuwait continued to press in the third period, only easing up in the last as they ran out comfortable winners 72-38.
Pre-tournament this was thought by most to be a close affair, but this did not eventuate as Kuwait were far too strong and the UAE had a couple of key players unable to make the journey to Amman. The scoring was an even affair for Kuwait with four players into double figures, led by Faisal Alrajehi with 14, while for UAE Mohammad Alzarooni hit 11.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were next up, and Bahrain struggled in the first period managing only 3 points as the Saudi’s full-court press proved too much for Bahrain, resulting in poor shot selection and numerous turnovers. Bahrain regained their composure in the second quarter and reversed the trend, outscoring Saudi 24-12 to get back within 5 points at the long break. An even third period set up a close finish, but thanks to a 10 point unanswered run by Saudi Arabia at the start of the fourth, the game was put beyond doubt to gain their first win of the tournament, 72-50.
Bahrain’s Ahmed Meshaima led all scorers with 21 points, while for Saudi Arabia Mahdi Almakinah (16), Faisal Asiri (12), Essam Buayti (12) and Abdulraman Bin Shaylan (10) show what an even spread they have on the scoresheet.
The evening session began with the UAE once again on court against the hosts from Jordan, both teams looking for their first win. UAE re-grouped after their morning loss and jumped to an 18-8 lead at quarter time thanks to some high percentage shooting from Ibrahim Alhamaddi (who had 10 points for the quarter). UAE extended their lead to 15 by halftime and looked in total control. Jordan’s high scorer from yesterday, Alkhazaleh, struggled to find the net with nothing falling for him. Despite an even second half, UAE comfortably maintained their lead to win, 52-37. Ahmad Alhattad had 13 points for the home side and while Alhamaddi finished with 18 points he was outdone by Alzarooni who top scored with 21 points.
Saudi Arabia were back on court against Iraq in the final game of the evening, both looking for the win to top Pool A. The first quarter Iraq showed they were ready to carry on their form from the opening day, as they led 17-10 at the first break. In a tough and uncompromising second period, Saudi Arabia lost their captain Bin Shaylan as he fouled out on a technical 2 minutes before halftime with 8 points to his name. Trailing by 13 at the half, and then 17 at third quarter time the deficit looked too much for the Saudi’s to recuperate. However, they made one last effort in the last period and got back to within 4 points, but Iraq steadied themselves to win, 62-53 and finish top of Pool A.
Iraq’s Saif Al Taie top scored with 19, getting good support from Hayder Al Sarraji (11) and Ahmed Mushtaq (10), while for Saudi Arabia Faisal Asiri (11) and Mahdi Almakinah (10) did the hard work in Bin Shaylan’s absence.
Results – Tuesday 24th April