Discover more from Ekalavyas | Basketball
FIBA Asia Championship: Rising India make Iran work hard for win
BENGALURU/CHANGSHA, 24 September 2015: It was only for one quarter, but what a quarter it was. In their second preliminary round game at the 28th FIBA Asia Championship for Men 2015 underway in Changsha, China, a confident India took on Iran, the reigning Asian Champs. Both teams were coming into this Group A match on the back of solid first game wins over Malaysia and Japan respectively.
Iran playing tight man to man defense against India. Image credit: FIBA Asia
The last time the sides faced off was in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, India had outscored Iran in the first quarter. Today, India took the fight to Iran in the second, outscoring the 17th ranked side in the world 19-12. The third and fourth quarters too were very closely fought, with Iran barely outscoring India by single digits in each of these ten minute sessions.
Besides the buoyant second quarter scoring, India outperformed Iran in key statistical categories. The side shot a higher percentage from beyond the arc (31.2% as against Iran’s 20.8%), had fewer turnovers and committed fewer fouls.
Amritpal Singh in the paint against Iran. Image credit: FIBA Asia
However, two key factors kept the match in Iran’s favour. The first was their fabulous opening quarter scoring run of 27-11, which forced India to play catch up for the rest of the game. The second was the fouling out of India’s primary centre Amritpal Singh just before halftime. His absence allowed Iran to wrest control of the paint. Five Iran players scored in double digits, with Hassanzadeh leading the pack with 18 points.
“Definitely if Amritpal could have stayed in the second half we would have given them a good fight,” said Amjyot Singh after the game. There is merit in his words, as he along with Amritpal together had combined for 21 of the 30 points in the first half.
Amritpal and Amjyot contest top Iran centre Hamed Ehadadi. Image credit: FIBA Asia.
The final scoreline read 88-66 in favour of Iran.
Amjyot Singh’s milestones
Significantly, power forward Amjyot Singh nearly averaged a double double for the second straight game. His 26 points was the highest individual score for either side and the second highest individual score so far in the Championship. He leads all players in total number of points scored (50) and in terms of cumulative statistics after two games (25 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 blocks per game) ahead of ex-NBA players Andray Blatche (Philippines) and Hamed Ehaddadi (Iran). Singh is also among the top ten players in blocks (6th), rebounds (9th) and all round efficiency (6th).
Amjyot Singh against Iran. Image credit: FIBA Asia.
“I can’t be happy with my performance since we lost. But the positive things was that we played as a team,” said Amjyot, while simultaneously expressing confidence that India will do well in the next game against Japan.
India’s third and final preliminary round game will be against Japan tomorrow, 25th September at 12:00 IST. Having almost certainly qualified to the next round after their opening win against Malaysia, the young Indian side (average age 24 years old) will be expected to treat these games against higher seeded Iran and Japan as crucial exposure opportunities going into the second round that starts on 27th September.
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi finds a way to the cup. Image credit: FIBA Asia.
India (Amjyot Singh 26 pts & 9 rbs, Yadwinder Singh 10 pts, Amritpal Singh 10 pts) lost to Iran (Mohammad Hassanzadeh 18 pts, Mahdi Kamrani 13 pts, Mohammadsamad Khahbahrami 12) 66-88 [11-27, 19-12, 18-24, 18-25]
India’s upcoming matches at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship*
vs Japan- 25th September, 12:00 IST (14:30 local time)
26th September will be a rest day
Round Two will be held between 27th and 29th September
Knockouts: Quarterfinals, semis and finals will be played on 1st, 2nd and 3rd October respectively.
*See below for tournament groupings, format, history, and India’s past participation.
How to follow the games
The Championship is being held at two venues in Changsha, China. The primary venue is the Gymnasium of Changsha Social Work College, while the secondary venue is the Gymnasium of Central South University of Forestry and Technology.
Matches are being aired on NEO SPORTS. Live streaming of the game is also available on a paid subscription basis here: http://www.livebasketball.tv/home. Live play by play updates are also available on FIBA’s official website: http://www.fiba.com/asia/2015.
INDIAN SQUAD FOR THE 28TH FIBA ASIA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
Jersey No Name Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy) Place of Birth (City & State) Height (cm) Weight
Position 03 Vinay Kaushik 30/08/1991 Lakhan Majra Haryana 189 88 F 04 Rajesh Prakash Uppar 20/01/1991 Dharwad Karnataka 172 67 PG 07 Siddhant Sanjay Shinde 15/06/1991 Pune Maharashtra 180 75 G 09 Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 13/09/1991 Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 193 95 G/F 10 Amritpal Singh 05/01/1991 Ganna Pind Punjab 207 110 C 13 Vikas Kumar 13/11/1988 Dablain Haryana 183 80 F 14 Yadwinder Singh 30/12/1986 Rasulpur Khurd Haryana 196 90 F 15 Arvind Arumugam 28/01/1991 Mandya Karnataka 197 94 PF 22 Amjyot Singh 27/01/1992 Chandigarh Punjab/ Haryana 203 104 F 66 Akilan Pari 20/07/1989 Chennai Tamil Nadu 180 70 PG 69 Akashdeep Hazra 01/07/1996 Baroda Gujarat 213 98 C 96 Gurvinder Singh Gill 21/01/1996 Chandigarh Punjab/ Haryana 200 90 PF
*PG - Point Guard / Feeder, G - Guard, F - Forward, G/F - Wing, PF - Power Forward, C - Centre, PF/C - Pivot
13) Team Manager: Mr Goutam Ganguly (West Bengal)
14) Head Coach: Mr Sat Prakash (Rajasthan)
15) Assistant Coach: Mr Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph (Kerala)
16) Team Physio: Dr Nikhil Nellikka Puthiyandi (Karnataka)
17) Mr Atanu Banerjee (West Bengal)
18) Mr Ceceline Michael Vino (Tamil Nadu)
19) Snehal Bendke (Maharashtra)
About the 28th FIBA Asia Men’s Championship 2015
Preliminary Round Groups
Group A: Iran, India, Malaysia and Japan
Group B: Hong Kong, Palestine, Philippines and Kuwait
Group C: China, Korea, Jordan and Singapore
Group D: Chinese Taipei, Lebanon, Qatar and Kazakhstan
This will be the 28th edition of the Asian Men’s Basketball Championship. 16 teams are expected participate in this championship and are divided into four groups (A, B, C and D) of four teams each. League matches are conducted within each group and the top three teams from each group proceed to the second round. The second round will comprise 12 teams in total split into two groups (E and F) of six teams each. The three top teams from groups A and B after the first round will be placed in Group E in the second round, while groups C and D’s top three teams will be placed in Group F.
In the second round, the top four teams each from Group C and D progress to the quarterfinals, followed by the semi-finals and finals. The 2015 FIBA Asia Championship is a qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The winner qualifies automatically for 2016 Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams earn spots for 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
Tournament history & India’s participation
Prior to the upcoming iteration, 27 editions of this biennial championship have been held so far, dating back to 1960. Philippines won the inaugural edition. China leads the medal’s tally with 15 golds, followed by Philippines (5 golds) and Iran (3 golds) India first participated at this event in 1965, and has competed 24 times in total. The Indian men’s team best finish came in 1975, when we finished 4th. India has also secured 5th place at the 1969, 1979 and 1981 iterations.
At the last edition in 2013, Iran, Philippines and Korea were the top three sides, while India finished 11th.