New Delhi/Bengaluru, 22nd July 2016: Aiming for a quarterfinal berth, the Indian U18 Men’s team got off to a high flying start against lower ranked Thailand, winning 100-93, in the 24th FIBA U18 Men’s Championship 2016 that tipped off at the Azadi Sports Complex, Tehran, Iran earlier today.

Keen to start off on a winning note in this all important first game, Head Coach Dilip Gurumurthy relied heavily on his starters, with India’s ‘Big Three’ of guards P Baladaneshwar, Sahil and centre Vishal Kumar Gupta playing the full quota of 40 minutes. Only two players— Mohammed Ali and Rachit —came off the bench, with the former scoring 15 points in a little under 21 minutes.

If there were any concerns regarding rustiness on India’s part, those were quickly put to rest as the side outscored their South-east Asian opponents 29-21 in the first quarter.

India outscored Thailand by 14 points in the first half, while Thailand managed to score 50 points to India’s 43 in the second half. India’s clear advantage in this match was the fact that they managed to grab 45 rebounds compared to Thailand’s 31. 6ft 6 inch Vishal was a huge part of that, finishing with a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. The UP centre also registered 3 blocked shots.

Apart from Vishal, India predictably utilised talented playmaker Baladaneshwar’s all-round game. The Indian captain was everywhere, scoring at ease (21 pts), grabbing rebounds, making assists (5 each), getting steals and blocking shots (1 each). Rounding off the big three was Haryana shooting guard Sahil, who lived up to his position, knocking down five three pointers to end with a team high 25 points.

Both Vishal and Sahil ended the game with a match best +26 efficiency (calculated in the following manner: PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK − Missed FG − Missed FT − TO).

Not to be outdone, the supporting cast of Hariram Raghupati (17 pts & 6 rbs) and Muhammad Ali (15 pts) kept India’s scoreboard ticking in the second half, to ensure that the fighting Thailand stayed at least three possessions behind India throughout the game.

India next plays defending champions China tomorrow at 1:00 pm (IST). China too won its opening game today, an easy 93-28 victory over Iraq. Thailand will take on Chinese Taipei.

India (Sahil 25 pts, P Baladheshwar 21 pts, Hariram Ragupathy 17 pts, Vishal Gupta 16 pts & 14 rbs, Mohammed Ali 15 pts) bt Thailand (Justin Bassey 20 pts, Suwichai Suwan 17 pts, Natthaworn Banchathon 16 pts, Pongsatorn Tabtim 13 pts, Attapong Leelaphipatkul 10 pts) 100-93 [29-21, 28-22, 18-20, 25-30]

L to R: India's 'Big Three' of guards Sahil, P Baladhaneshwar and centre Vishal. Original images credit: FIBA Asia

Indian Squad for the 24th FIBA U18 Men’s Championship 2016

Jersey
No
Family Name(s)

/Last Name

First Name(s)

/Given Name

Date of Birth
(dd/mm/yyyy)
Place of Birth Height
(cm)
(ft and inches)
Weight (Kg) Position
5 Hansraj 04/03/1999 New Delhi 178

(5’ 10”)

64 PG
9 Sayyed Saqlain Jamir 15/02/1998 Kada, Maharashtra 190

(6’ 2”)

78 SG
11 Rachit 16/09/1998 Delhi 186

(6’ 1”)

75 SG
13 Gupta Vishal Kumar 04/01/1998 Village Chapar, Uttar Pradesh 199

(6’ 6”)

78 C
14 Mohammed Ali 06/04/1998 Samo Ki Dhani, Rajasthan 194

(6’ 4”)

70 PF
15 Deepak 13/04/1998 Israna, Haryana 185

(6’ 1”)

78 F
24 Poiyamozhi Baladhaneshwar

(c)

07/12/1999 Ullikkottai Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu 180

(5’ 10.8”)

71 SG
25 Ragupathy Hariram 24/04/1998 Chennai, Tamil Nadu 184

(6’)

72 SG
30 Arthur Wilson Daniel Richards 25/10/1998 Chennai, Tamil Nadu 180

(5’ 10.8”)

74 SG
32 Benny Gineeb 09/03/1998 Potta, Kerala 194

(6’ 4”)

78 C
52 Noushad Muhammed Shiras 04/07/1999 Alappuzha, Kerala 190

(6’ 3”)

83 PF
55 Sahil 02/02/1999 Kalkha, Haryana 184

(6’)

69 SG

*PG – Point Guard / Feeder, G – Guard, F – Forward, G/F – Wing, PF – Power Forward, C – Centre, PF/C – Pivot

13) Team Manager: Mr. Ashok Sahu

14) Physio: Dr. Kannan Ratinasamy Bose

15) Head Coach: Mr. Dilip Gurumurthy

16) Assistant Coach: Mr. Paramdeep Singh

17) Referee: Mr. Imran Ali Baig

18) Referee: Mr. Ramesh Koppanathi

About the 24th FIBA U18 Men’s Championship 2016

Venue: Azadi Sports Complex, Tehran, Iran

There are 12 participating teams that have been divided into two preliminary groups:

Group A – China (WR-12), Chinese Taipei (WR-27), India (WR-52), Iraq (WR-62), Philippines (WR-28) and Thailand (WR-67).

Group B – Indonesia (WR-70), Iran (WR-24), Japan (WR-26), Kazakhstan (WR-37), Korea (WR-18) and Lebanon (WR-54).

Each team shall play all the other teams within its own group and the top 4 teams from each group qualify for the quarter-final round, followed by the semi-finals and finals. Additionally, placement matches will also be held for positions 3-8.

The significance of this Championship is that the top three teams progress to the FIBA Under-19 World Championship that will be held in Cairo, Egypt from 1 to 9 July 2017.

India’s Upcoming Schedule [Timings in IST]

vs China – 23rd July, 1:00 PM
vs Chinese Taipei – 24th July, 5:00 PM
Rest Day – 25th July
vs Iraq – 26th July, 9:00 PM
vs Philippines – 27th July, 9:00 PM
Rest Day – 28th July
Knockout & Placement Rounds – 29th to 31st July

For more details see: www.fiba.com/asia/u18/2016/fullschedule

All the matches are expected to be streamed live on www.livebasketball.tv

Championship History

The Asia U-18 Men’s Championship was first held in 1970 in Seoul and has since been held every 2 years (or 3 years in certain cases). China is the most storied team at the Asian level, having won gold 11 times, followed by Philippines (6) and South Korea (3).

Coming into this edition, China is the defending champion, followed by Iran (silver) and South Korea (bronze).

For info on all time medallists, see: www.fiba.com/asia/u18/2016/all-time-medalists

India’s Record

Prior to the upcoming edition, India has participated in the Asian Championship 18 times, with its best finish coming at the 1972 Championship held in Manila, Philippines, where the side finished 4th.

As hosts, India had conducted the 1998 and 2004 iterations in Kolkata and Bengaluru respectively. From 2006-2010 and in the last 2014 edition, India finished in 13th place, while in 2012, India managed a higher 10th place finish.

Team Ekalavyas
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