JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia made a perfect start to their FIBA Asia Cup qualifying campaign by winning their Group E match against Qatar in a game which marked the first FIBA basketball game played in Jeddah.
The hosts won 68-57 over their Gulf neighbors thanks to the heroics of Ayoub Alhawsawi and Mohammed Alsuwailem. The key man for the Saudis was Alhawsawi, who stood out in particular with electric play-making and impressive scoring.
Saudi Arabia operated well and were too strong for Qatar, who managed to cut the lead to within six points in the final quarter but were unable to overhaul the hosts’ lead.
Saudi Arabia, who also face Iran and Syria in their group, will be aiming for back-to-back qualifying wins when the Syrians visit Jeddah on February 23.