x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UAE basketball fans net a shot at glory in US

Basketball fans put their skills to the test at Red Bull's King of the Rock one-on-one tournament this weekend for a chance to play in the final at San Francisco's infamous Alcatraz Prison island.

DUBAI // Basketball fans put their skills to the test at Red Bull's King of the Rock one-on-one tournament this weekend for a chance to play in the final at San Francisco's infamous Alcatraz Prison island.

Friday saw the first qualifying round of five-minute one-on-one elimination games, and 60 players arrived at the Al Barsha Pond Park courts to compete.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Ferns showed everyone size does not matter in the first round, the 1.74metre-tall Winchester School basketball team member beating the tallest competitor in the tournament, 2.07mYousef Moussa, by two points with a three-pointer at the buzzer.

At 2.01m, Kenyan Agrey Odhiambo, 29, won the Dubai qualifiers, taking home Dh1,500 for his efforts. The hospitality manager from Atlantis The Palm hotel made his mark by winning the first round in an 11-0 shut-out.

His wide wingspan allowed him to block just about every attempt his opponents made at the basket. "I'm only at 60 per cent, I've not trained in a while, there are many high-calibre players here," he said after his first-round domination.

Two more rounds will be held later in the month in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The top 32 players will face off in Dubai Mall on June 27 to see who will represent the UAE at the Alcatraz final.

malkhan@thenational.ae