BENGALURU/CHANGSHA, 29 September 2015: For the first time since 2003, India has progressed to the quarterfinals of the 28th FIBA Asia Championship for Men that is underway in Changsha, China.  This will provide solace to the team, which lost to a hot Philippines side, 99-65, earlier this afternoon. In form Philippines came into this game on the back of four straight victories which included a first ever win against Asian giant Iran yesterday.

Despite the loss, India qualified for the knockout stage based on its two wins in the last three games, the biggest over Palestine on Sunday morning.  While both teams finished with the same Group record of 2-3, India won their only head-to-head matchup and will move on to face the Pool F topper, China, a team India memorably upset last year during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup.

Vishesh drives to the basket. Image credit: FIBA Asia.Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi drives to the basket. Image credit: FIBA Asia.

Commenting on the achievement, veteran forward Yadwinder Singh said, “We are ecstatic to have qualified and all the players have put in a lot of effort. Compared to teams in the past, the key difference has been the improved showing of our big men Amjyot Singh and Amritpal Singh.” Both Amjyot and Amritpal are professionals in the Japanese developmental league, and their exposure abroad is showing immediate divided.

India started off strong against Philippines, winning the first quarter 17-16. However, the hot-shooting of Philippines kicked in during the second quarter and it took a 42-36 lead into halftime. In the second half, the tired legs of India couldn’t keep up, as a rested and deep Philippines team took off on large runs. Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi led the team with 21 points, including 5-10 outside shooting, while Amritpal Singh matched former-NBA player Andre Blatche blow for blow with 18 points and 13 rebounds.  Star Amjyot Singh had an off-night with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Rare off-night: Forward Amjyot Singh looks on in match against Philippines. Image credit: FIBA Asia.

Rare off-night: Forward Amjyot Singh looks on in match against Philippines. Image credit: FIBA Asia.

India’s Stars on the Big Stage

The Indian team has been carried by the Big 3 of Amjyot Singh, Amritpal Singh and captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi. All three have showed the potential to dominate their positions in previous Championships, but for the first time, the trio have performed up to their potential and become true super-stars for Team India.

Their complementary styles allow them to optimize their full potentials.  The elder-statesman, relatively speaking, Vishesh is the overall play-maker and leader, directing and guiding his teammates on and off the court, as well as sharp shooting from 3 point range.  Amjyot provides an inside-outside matchup problem for the defence, as well as the crowd-raising athleticism.  Amritpal provides the muscle and presence down low, on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

These core starters, along with veteran Yadwinder Singh, have been together for the last three years, building a strong chemistry together.  Together, they provide a formidable matchup against any of the teams in Asia, and will look towards further creating history by making a push to the medal rounds.

India (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 21 pts, 3 rbs & 3 asts; Amritpal Singh 18 pts & 13 rbs; and Amjyot Singh 11 pts & 5 rbs) lost to Philippines (T Romeo 20 pts & 4 asts; A. Blatche 15 pts & 5 stls; and R. DeCampo 13 pts) 65-99 (17-16, 19-26, 14-23, 15-34)

India’s upcoming matches at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship*

Quarterfinals vs China, 1st October 2015 @ 5:00 pm IST (7:30 pm local time)

*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

Jersey
No
Name Date of Birth
(dd/mm/yyyy)
Place of Birth
(City & State)
Height
(cm)
Weight

(Kg)

Position
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
13 Vikas Kumar 13/11/1988 Dablain Haryana 183 80 F
14 Yadwinder Singh 30/12/1986 Rasulpur Khurd Haryana 196 90 F
15 Arvind Arumugam 28/01/1991 Mandya Karnataka 197 94 PF
22 Amjyot Singh 27/01/1992 Chandigarh Punjab/ Haryana 203 104 F
66 Akilan Pari 20/07/1989 Chennai Tamil Nadu 180 70 PG
69 Akashdeep Hazra 01/07/1996 Baroda Gujarat 213 98 C
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)

Referees:

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

Second Round Groups

Group E: Iran, Philippines, Palestine, Japan, India, Hong Kong

Group F: China, Qatar, Korea, Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan

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

Tournament Format

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.

For more details on Indian national teams’ tournament history at the international level see: http://archive.fiba.com/pages/eng/fa/p/lid_38138_cp/1/rpp/100/tid/301/_//teams.html

Gopalakrishnan R
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