Qatar withstood a late scoring blitz to beat Mongolia 15-12 in a thrilling men’s final in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the Asian Beach Games on Thursday. Qatar became the first country to win back-to-back gold medals in the increasingly popular format of the game but not before they were put under enormous pressure from Mongolia.
Qatar made a flying start and looked to be in cruise control when they led 10-5 with less than four minutes to go when Mongolia’s shooters found their range. Tsenguubayar Gotov, who went 5-for-11 from the field to finish with a game-high eight points and five rebounds, drained three two-pointers from outside the arc, including two in a row to cut the margin to a point.
There was still just a point in it heading into the last two minutes before Qatar regained their composure with Saad Abdullrahman making successive lay-ups then drawing a foul and sinking the free throw. “We knew that they were aggressive so we kind of used our advantage and played hard on offense and attacked them early,”
said Qatar centre Saeed Erfan, which finished with 5 points and 5 rebounds. “Basketball is really growing in Qatar. Every year it gets bigger, there’s a pro league and really good imports coming to play and for us to win the gold medal is a good thing for the game.”
Iraq won the bronze medal after an incredible 16-15 win over Thailand with Abdullah Hassan Ali sealing the win with a buzzer-beating shot from the edge of the court for the maximum two points, setting off wild celebrations with his teammates. “It was the most important shot in my basketball career because this is the first time we’ve won a bronze medal at an Asian games,” he said. “This shot made history for Iraqi basketball.”
China won the women’s gold medal for the first time at the Asian Beach Games, beating Thailand 15-9 with Jin Weina leading the way with a game-high six points, including a two-pointer from outside the arc. “My team’s defence was very good,” Chinese coach Li Xin said. “In this format of the game, the offense is fast and the transitions are so fast defence is key." Chinese Taipei, gold medallists in Phuket two years ago, beat Turkmenistan 21-9 in the bronze medal match.