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India's Basketball Squad Opens 2024 Olympic Pre-Qualifiers with Convincing Victory over Hosts Syria
The final scoreline read 85-74 in favour of the visitors. India next faces Indonesia on August 13th at 8 pm IST.
Damascus, August 12, 2023 - The Indian men's basketball team launched its journey towards securing a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics with a strong inaugural performance, triumphing over Syria with a final score of 85-74. The match unfolded at the Al Fayhaa Stadium Syria’s capital city of Damascus.
Pranav Prince Steals the Spotlight
In a dazzling display of skill, 20-year-old power forward Pranav Prince stood tall as he orchestrated India's offense. With an impressive 21 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds to his name, Prince became the beacon of the Indian team's success.
Early Dominance and Late Rally
India asserted its dominance right from the first quarter, exploiting Syria's lackluster defense to seize a commanding 15-point lead at 31-16. The Indian team's relentless pressure eventually translated into a massive 23-point advantage. Despite Syria's valiant efforts in the final quarter to narrow the margin to 7, India held firm under the pressure of a hostile home crowd, securing its double-digit lead and clinching victory.
Statistics Tell the Tale
India's supremacy was evident in various key statistical categories. They outscored Syria in the paint, tallying 46 points to Syria's 28, and showcased their dominance on the boards by outrebounding the hosts 43-34. The visitors capitalized on fast break and second-chance opportunities, amplifying their advantage.
While Pranav Prince's brilliance took center stage, the seasoned duo of Amjyot Singh and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi appeared out-of-shape and rusty, respectively. Also, point guard Muin Bek’s outside shooting woes continue. More will be expected from these three in the remaining games, especially against stronger opponents.
Ranking Upset, Future Challenges Await
India's victory was an ‘upset’ against Syria, who are ranked 10 places higher at 72. However, this victory doesn't paint the full picture considering India's plummeting rankings in recent years. Additionally, the tournament's opening day saw a trend of upsets, as Indonesia and Bahrain also overcame higher-ranked opponents.
Detailed Match Summary
India (Pranav Prince 21 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast; Amjyot Singh Gill 12 pts, 6 ast; Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon 12 pts, 4 stl; Palpreet Singh Brar 3 blk) beat Syria (Nadim Issa 21 pts, Abdulwahab Alhamwi 12 pts, 7 reb; Majd Arbasha 11 pts) 85-74 [31-16, 17-19, 23-18, 14-21].
Upcoming Battles for India
As India progresses through the group phase, tougher challenges loom on the horizon. The remaining group-stage matches will undoubtedly test the mettle of the Indian squad as they strive to secure their spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
India is set to face Indonesia on August 13th at 8 pm IST, followed by clashes against Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain in the subsequent days.
*All these matches can be enjoyed via live streaming on the Courtside 1891 website/app.*
The pre-qualifiers feature six participating teams, including India and Syria, along with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Indonesia. The absence of South Korea due to safety concerns added an unexpected twist to the competition. The tournament employs a round-robin league format, with knockout stages determining the top teams for the semifinals and eventual finals. The victor earns a coveted spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Indian Team Unveiled
The Indian roster boasts a blend of seasoned players and emerging talents. Led by Arjuna Awardee Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, the squad includes veterans Amjyot Singh, Aravind Annadurai, and Palpreet Singh Brar. A mix of youth and experience is evident with players like Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon, Pranav Prince, and Amaan Sandhu showcasing their potential. Serbian coach Veselin Matic guides the team, assisted by Santosh PS, Pradeep Tomar, and Vinod PG, with Siva Shanmuga Veerapandi as the team physio.