BENGALURU/CHANGSHA, 28 September 2015: Battling a slow start and an off-night for one of its stars, the Indian senior men’s basketball team fought back, relying on role players, to hold off a pesky Hong Kong team, 76-71. With this win, and following Palestine’s loss to Japan, the South Asian giants are just a step away from progressing to the quarterfinals of the 28th FIBA Asia Championship for Men underway in Changsha, China, after a gap of 12 years.
At the end of today’s games, in Group E, Japan, India and Palestine all have identical (3-2) records and are placed at 3rd, 4th and 5th positions respectively. The top four teams from the Groups E and F qualify for the knockouts, and India’s hopes for progressing look bright as Palestine has to upset reigning Asian Champions Iran, in order to displace India from the 4th spot. India too has a tough battle ahead against Philippines, but even in the eventuality that both Palestine and India remain locked at 3-3 after their final second round matches tomorrow, India is expected to progress to the quarterfinals based on its earlier head to head win over the Palestinians.
Comeback win over Hong Kong
Entering this match, India was coming off a strong performance against Palestine, while Hong Kong had been handed a 55-point drubbing by powerhouse Iran. Stars Amjyot Singh (26 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks) and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi kept India in the hunt throughout the first half which saw Hong Kong hit a number of long jump shots to take an early 39-34 lead.
India was a little slow, perhaps due to having to deal with a “trap game” in the emotional victory over Palestine. As a result, the side was unable to hit consistently from deep for three quarters. Veteran Yadwinder Singh, an unlikely outside threat, was India’s only reliable shooter connecting 3 out of 7 times from behind the arc. He had 18 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. His shooting forced the defense to adjust in the second half and Amritpal Singh was able to come alive, finishing with 8 points and 15 rebounds.
India was able to survive a poor shooting game, which started at 7 am IST, by winning the rebounding battle 47-41, including 6 more than Hong Kong on the offensive end – 17 to 11. The side also got 8 steals and 4 blocks that led to 10 fast break points to their opponents 4.
Veterans and Role Players Come Through in the Clutch
With the Hong Kong defence focusing on limiting the interior play of Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh, it was up to the perimeter players to carry the load in the fourth quarter. After missing his first 10 shots in the game point guard Akilan Pari came up huge in the last few minutes with 2 deep two pointers and a couple of free throws to keep Hong Kong out of striking distance. Vishesh Bhriguvanshi had his usual all around stellar game, with 16 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals, two of which came in the fourth quarter and led directly to two go-ahead baskets.
After the underutilized bench of India has had minimal success throughout the tournament, India’s most experienced player, Yadwinder Singh, made the most of his 35 minutes on the court, by hitting timely 3’s, the most important coming with 3:16 left in the game to close the gap to 1 point. Captain Vishesh then had one of his two big steals to give India the lead for good.
Speaking about the game Yadwinder said, “Although we were trailing at the beginning, we were fully confident that we would win.” On his own offensive performance he said, “My focus has always been on defense but I found that our scoring was stuck, so I stepped up my aggression and it paid off.” The down to earth Yadwinder was quick to deflect praise from himself on to his teammates. “All the players like Amjyot (Singh), Amritpal (Singh), Vishesh (Bhriguvanshi) and Akilan (Pari) executed on offense, and not just me.”
In their final second round match tomorrow, India plays Philippines, one of the top Asian sides, at 12:00 pm IST.
India (Amjyot Singh 26 pts, 12 rbs, 4 assts, & 3 blks, Yadwinder Singh 18 pts, 6 rbs, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 16 pts, 3 rbs, 4 stls, & 6 asts, Amritpal Singh 8 pts & 15 rbs) beat Hong Kong (C Wong, 21 pts & 10 rbs, S. Chan 17 pts & 4 rbs) 76-71 (14-19, 20-20, 19-17, 23-15)
India’s upcoming matches at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship*
29th September 2015 (Final Match of 2nd Round) vs. Philippines at 12:00 pm IST (2:30 local time)
Knockouts: Quarterfinals, semis and finals will be played on 1st, 2nd and 3rd October respectively.
*Scroll down below for tournament groupings, format, history, and India’s past participation.
How to follow the games
The Championship is being held at two venues in Changsha, China. The primary venue is the Gymnasium of Changsha Social Work College, while the secondary venue is the Gymnasium of Central South University of Forestry and Technology.
Matches are being aired on NEO SPORTS. Live streaming of the game is also available on a paid subscription basis here: http://www.livebasketball.tv/home. Live play by play updates are also available on FIBA’s official website: http://www.fiba.com/asia/2015.
INDIAN SQUAD FOR THE 28TH FIBA ASIA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
|Name||Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
(City & State)
|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|
|14||Yadwinder Singh||30/12/1986||Rasulpur Khurd||Haryana||196||90||F|
|22||Amjyot Singh||27/01/1992||Chandigarh||Punjab/ Haryana||203||104||F|
|66||Akilan Pari||20/07/1989||Chennai||Tamil Nadu||180||70||PG|
|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.