ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship): A strong flourish in the early part of the fourth quarter cemented Saudi Arabia’s marginal lead earlier and took the GCC champions to a 76-65 Group D Prelim Round win against their CABA counterparts Kazakhstan and a place in the Second Round.
Leading only two points at the end of an evenly contested three quarters of a game Saudi Arabia used a mix of speed and strength opening up a 10-2 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. That run proved good enough for Ali Alsanhani’s team to score their first win in the competition thus joining Iran and Philippines as the qualifiers for the Second Round from Group D.
Saudi Arabia, will have to start from scratch in the Second Round starting on Monday having lost to both Iran and Philippines.
“It doesn’t matter at all,” Sanhani said.
“We qualified from a very tough group. That’s what is more important,” he said.
Waheed Faqihi (pic above) led Saudi Arabia’s fourth quarter charge scoring 9 of his 18 for the game in the final period.
Nassir Abo Jala was Saudi Arabia’s highest scorer and for the game with 21 points.
Alexey Kurochka led Kazakhstan with 19 points, but only three of them came in the fourth period. Maxim Marchuk had 13 points and 11 rebounds, but only 4 points and 2 rebounds in the final quarter. And all of Alymzhan Maxutov’s 17 points came in the first three quarters of the game.