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Indian Men's U18 team on the verge of reaching knockouts after 12 years
L to R: P Baladaneshwar, Vishal Gupta and Raghupathy against Iraq (Original Image Credits: FIBA Asia)New Delhi/Bengaluru, 27th July 2016: Following in the footsteps of their senior men counterparts from last year’s FIBA Asia Championship, India’s junior team is on the verge of progressing to the quarterfinals of the 24th FIBA Asia U18 Men’s Championship 2016, that is underway in Iran. In a nearly must-win encounter played late last night, India prevailed over tough opponents Iraq in overtime to inch closer to that elusive quarterfinal spot that has evaded the side since its 7th place finish back in 2004. It is to be noted that the Indian Senior Men’s team too had made it to the quarterfinals last year after an identical gap of 12 years. Final confirmation of India’s progression to the knockout stage from Group A can only come in after the conclusion of Iraq’s last league match that is currently underway against Chinese Taipei. But considering that Taipei is a stronger team than Iraq on paper, India (2-2), and currently in 3rd place, remains in a favourable position to progress.
Without dwelling too much on the Iraq-Chinese Taipei game outcome though, India would be looking to end the league stages on a clear winning note, by beating Philippines later tonight (9pm IST). A win would not only cement India’s place in the quarterfinals that is scheduled to start on 29th July, but also ensure the side’s progression as the third best team from the preliminary Group A, and provide an easier quarterfinals match up against Group B’s 2nd best team (still to be decided).
India hold their nerve in OT win over Iraq
You can watch the game here: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARkf1lNLOaI[/youtube]
Coming off of some tough losses to higher ranked China and Chinese Taipei, India rallied to turn the game against Iraq to their advantage. Winning the 1st half 40 – 32, in terms of points, India went on to win the game 93 to 83 in overtime.
By halftime, India’s starters were already producing some impressive numbers. Centre Vishal Gupta, at the end of the 1st period, had 9 points and 7 rebounds. He would go on to finish with an impressive double double of 13 points and 14 rebounds. But India’s redoubtable star was none other than its captain, guard P Baladhaneshwar, who yet again produced stellar numbers. Bala made a numerous decisive plays on both ends of the floor to finish with figures of 31 points, 6 assists, 5 steals and 5 rebounds, to end with a match winning +35 efficiency. (Calculated in the following manner: PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK − Missed FG − Missed FT − TO). But Baladhaneshwar and the rest of his teammates reserved their best for last, after the teams were locked at 77-77 at the end of regulation. Able to summon up another gear, India forced Iraq into a couple of turnovers at the beginning of OT to go on a 7-0 run and close out the memorable victory. India (P Baladhaneshwar 31 pts, Vishal Kumar Gupta 13 pts & 14 rebs, Sahil 15 pts, Hariram Ragupathy 13 pts 10 reb, Gineeb Benny 13 pts) bt Iraq (Ihab Al-Zuhairi 23 pts, Rekan Abdalla 21 pts, Muostafa Albomghee 14 pts) 93-83 [21-16, 19-16, 21-19, 16-26, 16-6 (OT1)]
Indian Squad for the 24th FIBA Asia U18 Men’s Championship 2016
Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
Place of Birth
(ft and inches)
Village Chapar, Uttar Pradesh
Samo Ki Dhani, Rajasthan
Ullikkottai Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
*PG - Point Guard / Feeder, G - Guard, F - Forward, G/F - Wing, PF - Power Forward, C - Centre, PF/C - Pivot
13) Team Manager: Mr. Ashok Sahu
14) Physio: Dr. Kannan Ratinasamy Bose
15) Head Coach: Mr. Dilip Gurumurthy
16) Assistant Coach: Mr. Paramdeep Singh
17) Referee: Mr. Imran Ali Baig
18) Referee: Mr. Ramesh Koppanathi
About the 24th FIBA Asia U18 Men’s Championship 2016
Venue: Azadi Sports Complex, Tehran, Iran
There are 12 participating teams that have been divided into two preliminary groups: Group A – China (WR-12), Chinese Taipei (WR-27), India (WR-52), Iraq (WR-62), Philippines (WR-28) and Thailand (WR-67). Group B – Indonesia (WR-70), Iran (WR-24), Japan (WR-26), Kazakhstan (WR-37), Korea (WR-18) and Lebanon (WR-54).
Each team shall play all the other teams within its own group and the top 4 teams from each group qualify for the quarter-final round, followed by the semi-finals and finals. Additionally, placement matches will also be held for positions 3-8.
The significance of this Championship is that the top three teams progress to the FIBA Under-19 World Championship that will be held in Cairo, Egypt from 1 to 9 July 2017.
India’s Upcoming Schedule [Timings in IST]
vs Philippines – 27th July, 9:00 PM
Rest Day – 28th July Knockout & Placement Rounds – 29th to 31st July For more details see: www.fiba.com/asia/u18/2016/fullschedule All the matches are expected to be streamed live on www.livebasketball.tv
The Asia U-18 Men’s Championship was first held in 1970 in Seoul and has since been held every 2 years (or 3 years in certain cases). China is the most storied team at the Asian level, having won gold 11 times, followed by Philippines (6) and South Korea (3). Coming into this edition, China is the defending champion, followed by Iran (silver) and South Korea (bronze). For info on all time medallists, see: www.fiba.com/asia/u18/2016/all-time-medalists
Prior to the upcoming edition, India has participated in the Asian Championship 18 times, with its best finish coming at the 1972 Championship held in Manila, Philippines, where the side finished 4th. As hosts, India had conducted the 1998 and 2004 iterations in Kolkata and Bengaluru respectively. From 2006-2010 and in the last 2014 edition, India finished in 13th place, while in 2012, India managed a higher 10th place finish.