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India opens with win over Philippines at FIBA Asia Challenge 2016
*After famously upsetting China at the very same event in 2014, India beats higher ranked Philippines, 91-83, to open its 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge on a winning note. The side will face another tough opponent Chinese Taipei later this evening, in their second and final Group B game.* New Delhi/Bengaluru, 10th September 2016: Late last night Amjyot Singh led an experienced Indian side in beating an amateur Philippines, 91 to 83, to begin India’s 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge on a winning note. The tournament tipped off yesterday at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall in Tehran, Iran, and will conclude on 18th September. While India’s (ranked 53rd in the world) win over higher ranked Philippines (WR-27) is creditable, it is important to note that this Philippines side comprises younger players, without any veteran member in the team. Barring the international experience angle though, on paper, both teams were identically matched in average height (6’ 4’’) and age (24 years). In the absence of seniors from Philippines’s professional league (‘PBA’), India did well to capitalize and overturn its 66-70 loss to Philippines’ main side at the previous edition of the tournament in 2014. The FIBA Asia Challenge (formerly the FIBA Asia Cup) is turning into a happy hunting ground for India Basketball. It is to be recalled that at the very same event back in 2014, the senior men’s team had famously upset China for the first time in history.
India’s ‘Big Three’ Star in Win
Although it was down by 9 points at the end of the first quarter, India outscored Philippines in the second by 10 points, to take the lead at half-time. Without any naturalized players in Philippines’ line up, India had a noticeable physical advantage in the post. In the first half, most of India’s made field goals were either down on the block, courtesy 6ft 9’’ centre Amritpal Singh, or from beyond the three-point line.
Centre Amritpal Singh controlled the paint against Philippines. (Image credit: FIBA Asia) Philippines, on the other hand, took a wide variety of shots, which included relatively deep two-pointers. This incidence played in India’s favour as it finished the game hitting 53.19% of its 2-pointers, as opposed to the Philippines, which finished with a lower 32.14%. This largely negated any advantage Philippines could have gained from its surprisingly higher offensive rebounding numbers (21 to 13). Crucially, India dominated in the paint (46 points vs 20 for Philippines) and capitalized in transition (14-2 on fast break points). Going into the second half, India led 47-46 and continued to hold sway over the next 10 minutes, to end the third quarter on a 21-12 run. But the never-say-die Philippines came furiously back in the last quarter, to get within 2 points of India. India though kept its composure thanks to some much needed scoring from wing player Prasanna Venkatesh and streaky guard TJ Sahi.
Prasanna Venkatesh in action against Philippines Amjyot Singh grabs one of his 18 rebounds against Philippines (Image credit: FIBA Asia) But the highlight of the game no doubt was the performance of its ‘Big Three’ led by Amjyot Singh. The versatile forward was in full beast mode, finishing with a double double of 24 points and 18 rebounds. With a +36 overall efficiency, Amjyot would end up among the top five performers of the tournament on Day 1. Veteran guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi led the initial charge before finishing with an easy 20 points, while centre Amritpal Singh had a near double double of his own, adding 16 points and 8 rebounds. All three played the entire 40 minutes duration of the match.
Amjyot Singh grabs one of his 18 rebounds against Philippines (Image credit: FIBA Asia) “I was particularly pleased with how my boys executed on defence,” said Head Coach Sat Prakash Yadav after the win, adding that following the game plan worked out for his team, which is in good shape. Point guard Akilan Pari called it “a good start to the campaign” and expressed positivity going into the second Group B game against Chinese Taipei on 10th September. India takes on Taipei at 5:15 pm (IST) later today. Results on 9/9/2016 India (Amjyot Singh 24 pts 18 rbs, Vishesh Briguvanshi 20 pts 6 rbs, Amritpal Singh 16 pts 8 rbs) bt Philippines (R. Belo 21 pts 5 rbs, E Daquioag 15 pts 7 rbs, R Escoto 11 pts 4 rbs) 91-83 [16-25, 31-21, 21-12, 23-25]
About the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016
The FIBA Asia Challenge was previously known as the FIBA Asia Cup. It is the first step in the qualification process for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup. The top 5 teams will earn for their respective sub-zones an extra berth at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, which will be the first inter-continental tournament featuring teams from both Asia and Oceania (i.e. Australia & New Zealand). The top teams from the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in turn qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge will be held at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall, located in the north & south of the main street of the Azadi Sport Complex. Host Iran is the defending champion.
The initial round of the tournament will be played in a round robin format. The 12 participating teams have been divided into 4 groups of 3 teams each, and each team will play the 2 teams that are in the same group as them. Preliminary Round Grouping Group A: China, Jordan, Kazakhstan Group B: Philippines, India, Chinese Taipei Group C: Iran, Qatar, Iraq Group D: Japan, Korea, Thailand All 12 preliminary round teams will advance to the second round, where they will be divided into 2 teams of 6 each. Each team will then play the 3 new teams in its group. The top 4 teams from each of the second round groups will then move on quarter-finals, followed by the semifinals and finals.
India’s Tournament Schedule (all times IST)
vs Philippines – 9th September, 09:45 PM vs Chinese Taipei – 10th September, 05:15 PM For more information please visit: www.fiba.com/asia/challenge/2016
The final 12 members of the squad who will represent India at the FIBA Asia Challenge were selected at the end of a nearly one-month long training camp held at NMAM Institute of Technology (NITTE) in Karkala, Udupi district of coastal Karnataka. While the Indian side remains largely unchanged from last month’s 38th William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament, there are a couple of key changes. Veteran swingman and defensive stopper Yadwinder Singh returns to the team, and is expected to provide much needed versatility on both ends of the floor in terms of matchups. Also, teenager Hariram Ragupathy, one of the stars from India’s historic 8th place finish at the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship, makes his debut into the senior team. A small ceremony was held at the NITTE campus to bid farewell to the Indian squad, which was attended by Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General of BFI. “On behalf of BFI I convey my sincere thanks to NITTE University management, who for the last two years have been continuously providing us all the training facilities for the Indian team. This is my first visit here, but this is one of the best campus facilities I have seen,” said Mr Sharma. Addressing the departing contingent, he said, “Ultimately, it is the outcome of your efforts which will benefit basketball in India. You are the players who are icons for all other players in the country. So I wish you all the success and that you put up a performance that is even better than in all the previous championships that you have attended.”
Senior Men’s Squad for the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016
Jersey No Family Name(s) /Last Name First Name(s) /Given Name Place of Birth (City and State) Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy) Height (cm)(ft & inches) Weight (Kg) Position 4 Bhullar Arshpreet Singh Jalandhar Punjab 02/10/1996 190 (6’ 3’’) 86 G/F 9 Bhriguvanshi Vishesh Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 13/09/1991 195 (6’ 5’’) 95 G/F 10 Amritpal Singh Ganna Pind Punjab 05/01/1991 207 (6’ 9.5’’) 110 C 12 Philip Basil Sulthanbathery Kerala 10/01/1991 184 (6’) 76 G/F 14 Yadwinder Singh Rasulpur Khurd Punjab 30/12/1986 198 (6’ 6’’) 95 F 15 Pethani Rikin Sajiavadar Amreli Gujarat 02/12/1990 203 (6’ 8”) 104 C 22 Bhardwaj Ravi Chandigarh Chandigarh 31/10/1992 207 (6’ 9”) 100 F/C 25 Ragupathy Hariram Chennai Tamil Nadu 24/04/1998 184 (6’) 72 SG 27 Amjyot Singh Chandigarh Punjab/ Haryana 27/01/1992 203 (6’ 8”) 104 F 46 Sivakumar Prasanna Venkatesh Gobichettipalayam Tamil Nadu 25/09/1992 186 (6’ 1”) 85 G/F 66 Pari Akilan Chennai Tamil Nadu 20/07/1989 180 (5’ 10’’) 70 PG 99 Talwinderjit Singh Patiala Punjab 20/10/1986 182 (5’ 11’’) 80 PG
*PG - Point Guard / Feeder, G - Guard, F - Forward, G/F - Wing, PF - Power Forward, C - Centre, PF/C - Post
13) Coach: Sat Prakash Yadav 14) Coach: C. V. Sunny 15) Physiotherapist: Nikhil N. P. 16) Manager: Shaktikumar Mahipatsinh Gohil 17) FIBA Commissioner: Norman Swaroop Issac 18) FIBA Referee: Atanu Banerjee