Boxscores | Photo gallery ¦ Post game press conference video
TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Ali Saad dazzled with his shooting and Qatar topped Group 'C' with a 76-69 win over Kazakhstan on Monday. The 22-year-old point guard top scored the match with 25 points, converting all the four free-throws he earned along with sinking all the seven three-point attempts he made, as Qatar capitalized and powered ahead.
"Of course that kind of a performance doesn't happen every day," beamed Qatar coach Edward Andrist. "We knew we were up against the toughest opponents so far, in all sense, but when someone comes up with that kind of a shooting record, it makes it easy," the American added.
"Kazakhstan posed a lot of problems, which we had expected. Given their size, speed and skills we were not surprised at all. But we had worked out our plan, and it worked. We were quick on their screens and the shooters. We also defended our post rather well. That was the key," he said.
Kazakhstan kept themselves in the race, but once their mainstay Anton Ponomarev was fouled out and the other key Yevgeniy Issakov ran into foul trouble, their task got that much tougher.
"It was a part of our strategy," Andrist said. "To keep our players on the court and theirs off it, was a part of our plan."
Kazakh coach Vitaliy Strebkov too observed that the foul factor played a crucial role. "Our team did struggle once Ponomarev went out and Issakov gathered four."
"Nevertheless, we have qualified. Now we are looking ahead."
In another match in the same group, with no implication on the qualification race, India posted their maiden win, rallying to beat Indonesia 72-66.
Qatar 76 (Ali Saad 25, Yasseen Musa 15) bt Kazakhstan 69 (Yevgeniy Issakov 15, Anton Ponomarev 14). Quarterwise: 17-17, 40-30, 56-49.
India 72 (Riyazuddin 17, Jagdeep Singh 16, Trideep Rai 15) bt Indonesia 66 (Youbel Sondakh 14, Welly Situmorang 13). Quarterwise: 21-18, 36-41, 52-55.