|Monday – July 7th, 2014|
|FINAL. INDIA WINS.|
Venue: Koramangala Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru . Entry is Free
*Box scores are updated very two minutes. Please refresh page for latest scores.
Defending champions India cemented its place as the best basketball team in the South Asian region with a hard fought 90-63 win over Sri Lanka in the South Asian Basketball Association Championship (SABA) Qualifiers 2014. As regional winners from the South Asian region, India has qualified to the 2014 FIBA Asia Championship for U-18 Men scheduled to be held from 19th to 28th August in Doha, Qatar.
Both India and Sri Lanka were unbeaten coming into this game, having registered easy opening wins over a depleted Bangladesh side. The Sri Lankan side has been a revelation of sorts in this tournament, thanks to its constant and pestering pressing defense. Tonight too, against a much taller Indian team, Sri Lanka’s swarming defense forced India into numerous turnovers. Sri Lanka also connected repeatedly from beyond the arc (for a total of 12 three pointers in the match as against India’s mere 1) to take a double digit lead early in the first quarter. Miraculously, the much shorter Sri Lankan team also outrebounded India in the early stages. At the end of the first quarter, the scores were tied at 20 apiece.
By the second quarter though, the Indian team finally settled down into some sort of rhythm. Forward Anmol Singh especially, shone for India on both ends of the floor, registering a double double (15 points and 14 rebounds). Anmol’s defensive rebounding prowess also translated into numerous fast break opportunities for his guard teammate Mahipal Singh, who posted a spectacular double double himself (32 points, 14 rebounds). By halftime, India began to separate itself from its southern neighbours, building a solid 53-43 lead. In the third quarter, India’s captain and centre Gurvinder Singh Gill and opposition centre Kashi Juliyan were disqualified and sent to sit in the stands, for having entered into a on court scuffle. This disqualification hurt the undersized Sri Lankan the most, and India took full advantage with relentless defensive rebounding that converted into easy fast break opportunities for the hosts. In the end, India won with a comfortable 27 point margin, but despite this win, there are more questions than answers in the minds of the Indian basketball fans.
HE SAID SHE SAID- I
“If we had another one month of training, we would have beaten India easily! It’s not about the score on the scoreboard, it’s about the fight that we gave. We did very well. I wanted a burst in the end, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We didn’t play to our potential. I don’t want to blame anybody, but ourselves.”
– Sri Lankan Head Coach Panduka Ranasinghe
“My recent stint in the Basketball Without Borders Camp taught me to play tougher, and that helped me today. Even with Captain Gary Gill getting disqualified, there was no additional pressure on me. I was just lucky that I was in the best position to score easy baskets. We didn’t think Sri Lanka would give us such a tough fight, but they connected on many three pointers that kept them in the hunt. We are now headed back for a one month camp in Aurangabad, so we need to work on improving in certain areas, especially with respect to cutting down on the number of turnovers that we conceded today.”
– India’s Guard Mahipal Singh, from Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) who top scored with 31 points and 14 rebounds.
HE SAID SHE SAID- II
“They went on a lead early, which threw us off a little bit in the beginning. But we settled down and combined well through the course of the game. Mahipal and Sunil were very aggressive in the second half in terms of carrying our scoring load and that pulled us through tonight.”
– India’s point guard Narender Rathee (Delhi)
“We need more understanding, especially on the defensive end while playing against a taller team like India, which has a couple of players above 6ft 6 inches. Our heart was bigger than our legs! When our boys first saw the height of the Indians, they were a bit shaky and their legs weren’t moving as well as they do back in Colombo.”
– Sri Lankan Head Coach Panduka Ranasinghe
India (Mahipal Singh 32 pts, 14 rbs; Anmol Singh 15 pts, 14 rbs) bt Sri Lanka (Mohd Umair 16 pts, L Nadeeja 15 pts, 8 rbs) 90-63 (HT: 53-43)
Play by Play
(*note that all four teams below have already qualified to Level 1 and these matches are being held for the sole purpose of granting the two winning teams the right to choose their pre-quarter final opponent from level 1)
Girls: Kerala 60 (Nivya Raj 20, Anusha 19) bt Maharashtra 53 (Shruti 21, Neha 12) [21-11, 13-17, 13-11, 13-14]