x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Ibrahim Ahmad points haul not enough for UAE against Jordan

In-form Al Wasl guard pours in with 28 points, but another slow start by the UAE leaves them too much to do in their Fiba Asia Championship match against Jordan.

The in-form Al Wasl guard Ibrahim Ahmad poured in another 28 points for the UAE, but Jordan surged to a big early lead and held off the Emiratis to claim a 94-80 victory today in the Fiba Asia Championship at Wuhan, China.

The UAE were officially dismissed from contention for the 2012 Olympics and now move into the bracket to determine the No 9 to 12 finishers in the 16-team tournament. The UAE were 16th in the 2007 continental tournament.

The winner of the championship gains a berth at the London Games, and the second and third finishers are entered into a 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament in July, out of which the top three sides also will go to London.

Jordan move into the quarter-finals, where they likely will play the defending champions Iran on Friday.

Ahmad scored 25 points against Syria yesterday, the best game in this tournament by a UAE player until he bettered it with his 28 points, five rebounds and four assists today.

Khalil Salem, the point guard from the Sharjah club, scored 23 points and had four assists for the UAE.

Rashid Al Zaabi, the swingman out of Al Wasl and usually the national team's scoring leader, did not play following a two-point game on yesterday.

Jordan were led by Osama Daghles, a former US college basketball player, who scored 20 points, and by Zaid Abbas, the Beijing Ducks standout, who had 13 points and six rebounds.

Jordan led 40-20 after one quarter as the UAE continued a pattern of falling behind early. The Emiratis cut the deficit to 11 late in the second quarter on a three-point shot by Salem, and to 10 on a steal and layup by Salem that capped a 11-0 run with four minutes to play, but could not come any closer.

They have one victory in five games in China, a thrashing of Bahrain last week, but figure to be more competitive in the ninth-place play-offs, in which they likely will be grouped with Syria, Malaysia and Uzbekistan.

The UAE are ranked No 65 in the world by Fiba.

* Compiled by Paul Oberjuerge