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India tips off 2015 FIBA Asia Championship with strong win over Malaysia
Team India arrives in Changsha China for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. Image credit FIBA Asia
BENGALURU/CHANGSHA, 23 September 2015: The Indian national men’s basketball team has tipped off its 2015 FIBA Asia Championship campaign in style, comfortably beating Malaysia 102-73. Considering that the remaining two teams in Group A are Asian powerhouses Iran and Japan, today’s opening win is significant as it puts India on course to a spot in the next round. The top three teams from each of the four groups qualify to the second round of this championship that is underway in Changsha, China.
India started the match strong, with veteran ONGC forward Yadwinder Singh converting early, to take India to a 29-19 first quarter lead. The second quarter proved tighter as Malaysia clamped down on the defensive end to deny India easy opportunities. India led 47-32 at halftime. Although India has won 7 out of the last 8 head to head games against Malaysia, the last time the two teams faced each other in 2011, Malaysia had edged past India 71-67. Tonight, there would be no such luck for the South East Asian nation, as a disciplined India kept the scoreboard ticking with 26 and 29 point third and fourth quarters. Malaysia matched India’s scoring in the fourth quarter, but by then India was sitting pretty with a near 30 point lead.
Veteran Yadwinder Singh had a scorching first half against Malaysia. Image credit FIBA Asia
The sheen of a 100 point scoring performance notwithstanding, the story of the game for India was its dominance in the paint, enjoying a whopping 21-9 offensive rebounds differential which in turn contributed to the side scoring twice as many points in the paint as their opponents (52 to 26).
Prior to the tournament, veteran ONGC forward Yadwinder Singh had predicted, “Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh are in good shape and have performed brilliantly in Japan and I know they will compete very well in the Asian Championship too.”
Amjyot Singh en route to his top scoring performance. Image credit FIBA Asia.
Playing to their potential, forwards Amjyot and Amritpal [who are both plying their trade in the Japanese pro league] dominated the paint, while point guard Akilan Pari turned in a personal best performance of 18 points and 4 assists. The sharpshooting Pari was particularly impressive from beyond the arc, firing in four of his six three point attempts. Pari ended as India’s most efficient performer of the game.
Akilan Pari playing tight perimeter defense. Image credit FIBA Asia
“We are very happy to win this first game as it is a big step towards qualifying to the second round. I made the most of my chance in the starting five and reposed the faith that my teammates and coaches have in me. It was a good shooting day!” said Pari after the game. “I would like to thank my first Head Coach Scott Flemming for building my confidence, as well as the current coaches.”
Centre Amritpal Singh rises over Malaysian defenders in the paint. Image credit FIBA Asia.
On their part, Amjyot underlined his class as one of Asia’s finest young talents registering 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Amritpal was ruthlessly efficient in his 12 point, 9 rebound performance, which included 5 offensive boards.
Beyond these three, other notable performers for India were veteran forward Yadwinder Singh (16 pts & 7 rbs), the athletic Arvind A (13 pts & 5 rbs) and the always consistent captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, who had a team high 6 assists and 3 steals to go along with his 9 points.
The next assignment for India will be against reigning Asian Champs Iran tomorrow, 24th September at 9:15 IST.
India (Amjyot Singh 24 pts and 10 rbs, Akilan Pari 18 pts & 4 assists, Yadwinder Singh 16 pts & 9 rbs, Arvind Arumugam 13 pts, Amritpal Singh 12 pts & 9 rbs) bt Malaysia (Ivan Leo 18 pts & 10 rbs, Tian Kuek 10 pts, Liang Yek 10 pts) 102-73 [29-19, 18-13, 26-12, 29-29]
India’s upcoming matches at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship*
vs Iran- 24th September, 09:15 IST (11:45 local time)
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
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.
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.