Nepal's Ayush Singh (in white) drives against Bangladesh's Ibrahim Mohamed.

Nepal’s Ayush Singh (in white) drives against Bangladesh’s Ibrahim Mohamed.

Bengaluru, 4th July 2015: In decisive matches on day 2, Nepal surprised the more favoured Bangladesh side to record their second straight win in the 4th South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship 2015 that is underway at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. However, later in the evening, the same side suffered a reversal of fortunes, losing to Maldives 68-72.

Hosts India remained unbeaten waltzing past their third straight opponents Bhutan. The tiny Himalayan nation had to counter to India superior size, strength and agility. There were moments of delight when Bhutan players showed off their ball handling skills, most notably an ankle breaker that had India captain & forward Rikin Pethani on the floor. But India will be more than happy to have sealed this win, especially with the return to form of “Mr Big Shot” Joginder Singh Saharan, who recorded a triple double of 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

India's Arvind (right) and captain Rikin Pethani (left) vie for the recound against Bhutan.

India’s Arvind (right) and captain Rikin Pethani (left) vie for the recound against Bhutan. India & Sri Lanka are undefeated with a perfect 3-0 record going into the final day.

The other undefeated team in the tournament, Sri Lanka, struggled in the first half against Bangladesh, before winning 80-63. “We had lost to Bangladesh by 2-3 points in the last edition, but we are confident of beating them today,” Sri Lanka Head Coach Panduka Ranasinghe had predicted before the match. However, Bangladesh’s aggression at the start of the match put them on the backfoot. Bangladesh’s duo of Mithunkumar Biswas and Mithun Sarkan came good yet again, but were effectively countered by Sri Lanka’s young guard Praneeth Udumalagala. Udumalagala is a budding colleage player in the US, and his confidence shined through in his 26 point performance. Earlier this morning, Sri Lanka had eased past Maldives 92-66.

Standings (at the end of days 1 & 2)

Team (W-L)

Points Scored

Points Conceded

Differential

1. India (3-0) 122+119+90 39+52+37 +203
2. Sri Lanka (3-0) 92+100+80 66+57+63 +86
3. Maldives (2-1) 65+66+72 76+92+68 -33
4. Nepal (2-2) 72+87+37+68 58+54+90+72 -10
5. Bangladesh (1-3) 76+54+74+63 122+65+87+80 -87
6. Bhutan (0-3) 58+57+52 72+119+100 -124

Results from 4th July 2015

Evening

Morning

About the 4th SABA Championship 2015

The 4th South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship 2015 is being played from 3rd to 5th July at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in India’s IT city of Bengaluru. The three day will conclude on the 5th, and is being played on a round robin league format. Six South Asian teams— defending champions & hosts India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the island nations of Sri Lanka and Maldives are in the fray. The team with the best record at the end of this championship after five matches will progress from the South Asian region to the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship scheduled for 23rd September to 3rd October in Changsha (China).

The Indian men’s team is being coached by Prasad Rama Linga, managed by Gautam Ganguly and captained by Rikin Pethani.

Gopalakrishnan R
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