Game Photos. Game Details and Stats
BEIRUT, Lebanon (23rd FIBA Asia Champions Cup): American Loren Woods made a sparkling return and starlet Ahmad Ibrahim made a glittering debut as hosts Al Riyadi Beirut began the defense of their FIBA Asia Champions Cup crown with a resounding manner beating Turkmen debutants Belent Asgabat 116-54 on the opening day of the 23rd FIBA Asia Champions Cup on Monday.
Riyadi began the game leaving nothing to chance or doubt – in terms of the strength of their line-up as well as the attitude in tactics – with all guns blazing.
Woods (pic above), who was a part of the Riyadi team that won the 22nd FIBA Asia Champions Cup at Manila (Philippines) last year but moved to Iranian club Zob Ahan after that, started the game – putting to rest speculative rumors about his fitness – scored six out of the first 8 points of the game and put the home team on the right track.
Ibrahim, playing his first international game for Al Riyadi, too got into stride right away and moved well in tandem with Jean Abd El Nour to provide the feeder and support base for Woods.
Riyadi’s whopping 35-10 lead at the end of the first quarter was indeed a fair reflection of the flow and fortunes of the game.
Woods had accounted for 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals and blocks each in the first 10 minutes.
Thus coach Slobodan Subotic could give his entire roster more than 11 minutes each on the court on his first appearance on the Al Riyadi bench in an international game.
“Any win is a win. All coaches are happy with a win for their team,” said Subotic.
“All teams are starting their season now. Therefore every game is a new challenge for us. We have a great team, but we have the year and season ahead of us. I won’t take any game lightly,” he said.
“It’s great to be back with Riyadi,” said Woods, who finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
“They (the Riyadi fans) love me. And I love repaying their love in this manner,” he said adding that he was “well on his way to full recovery from his hamstring injury” which kept him out of Riyadi’s triumph at the Hariri Cup international tournament last week.
Aleksandr Kozlov, Belent’s Uzbek import, who had a game-high 21 points said: “The difference in the quality of teams was obvious.”
“We are very disappointed, but this is the reality of playing against such an experienced and organized team,” he added.