Al Ahli weather Malaysia’s challenge
CHENZHOU (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016) – Al Ahli of UAE were able to weather a spirited challenge from the Malaysia Dragons, 81-69, to get their second win of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016 in Chenzhou, China.
The Malaysia Dragons started strong in this game, leading after one quarter, but the UAE unit got their bearings in the second period onwards and were able to preserve the win. The prolific Samuel Young continued to lord over the scoring for Al Ahli, while Qais Al-Shabebi and Mohammad Al-Ajmani paired up for 28 points in support. Malaysia’s Skylark Spencer was limited to only 16 points, but their other import, Joel Wright, picked up the slack with 21 points in the loss.
Turning Point: Al Ahli were able to recover from a slow start to tie the count by halftime, but they truly wrested control in the third period, which they won, 21-14. Malaysia tried to rally in the final frame, but timely hits from Al Ahli prevented the ASEAN champions from completing a comeback.
Stats Don't Lie: Three-point sniping was key in this game. UAE were able to drill in a dozen triples compared to just 8 for Malaysia. Not surprisingly, Young led the way with 4 threes, while Khalifa Salem punched in 3 of his own from beyond the arc. Moosa Khuwaidem and Saeed Al-Ajmani each tossed in two three-pointers of their own.
Game Hero: Young was the darling of Day 1 when he scored 50 points, and he hogged the spotlight again here by dropping 32. He shot 10-of-24 from the field, including those 4 three-pointers, while also grabbing 7 rebounds, getting 4 steals and handing out 1 assist. Young is proving to be a very tough customer, and UAE’s future foes better watch out for his explosiveness.
The Bottom Line: Malaysia can give themselves a pat on the back for playing well, but they still fell short in the end. Nevertheless, this should give them additional confidence as they face Barsy Atyrau tomorrow. On the other end, this is the exact kind of character-building win that Al Ahli needed as they are set to square off with dangerous Al Shorta tomorrow in what will probably determine the second seed of Group B.