New Delhi/ Bengaluru, 31st July 2016: The 38th William Jones Cup 2016 entered its final day today at the Hsinchuang Gymnasium in the city of New Taipei, Taiwan.
Playing their last round robin match against mighty Asian side Iran, the Indian men did excellently for three straight quarters, before their Persian Gulf opponents went on a decisive 15-6 fourth quarter run. Captain and centre Amritpal Singh had a near double double of 22 points and 9 rebounds, while all-round guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi posted 5 steals, in addition to 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. Dynamic scoring forward Amjyot Singh had to return to Japan as part of his club commitments and in his absence, backup forward Aravind Annadurai got significant playing time to finish with 12 points and 4 boards.
Iran (Yakhchali Behnam 15 pts, Mozafarivanani Rasoul 11 pts, Dalirzahan Vahid 11 pts) bt India (Amritpal Singh 22 pts 9 reb, Aravind Annadurai 12 pts, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 10 pts 5 stl) 71-56 [15-10, 17-21, 24-19, 15-6]
Team Standings (as of 4pm today) [W-L]
- Mighty Sports Club, Philippines [7-0]
- Republic of China i.e. Chinese Taipei (ROC) Team A ‘China Blue’ [5-2]
- Korea National Team [5-2]
- Iran National Team [5-3]
- Japan National Team [3-4]
- S.A (California State University, Sacramento) [3-5]
- Egypt National Team [3-5]
- Republic of China i.e. Chinese Taipei Team B ‘China White’ [2-5]
- India National Team [1-7]
Many positives for India
Despite what the final 1-7 win-loss record might suggest, the Indian men performed admirably well against tough opposition. The record could well have been 3-4, had two games in particular — against California State University, Sacramento (US) and Republic of China i.e. Chinese Taipei (ROC) Team A —gone India’s way. India had lost to the US team 60-62 on the opening day, while were beaten by Chinese Taipei in overtime.
Against higher ranked physical teams such as Egypt, Iran and Mighty Sports, Philippines, barring one quarter, there was little to separate India from these sides.
India’s first ever win at William Jones was against Chinese Taipei’s B team, a convincing 77-63 victory.
Individually speaking, the ‘Big Three’ of centre Amritpal Singh (14.4 points per game), power forward Amjyot Singh (9.9 rebounds per game) and playmaking guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (4.1 assists per game) were expectedly India’s top performers.
Despite these positives, the one key aspect for improvement for India will be countering crisp passing, strong outside shooting teams such as South Korea and Japan. Both these teams posted easy wins over India.
On an average India scored 67 points per game (ppg) while conceding 79.75 ppg. The side will look to improve on both ends of the floor with better ball movement and outside shooting, fewer turnovers and increased bench contribution.
All said and done, the Indian team has got exactly the kind of hard and varied exposure it needed ahead of the all important FIBA Asia Challenge that will be held in Iran later this September. Many of their William Jones opponents (such as Iran, Japan, Korea and Taipei) will return to the FIBA Asia Challenge. So India has had the opportunity to familiarize itself with their contrasting styles of play and will be aching for a second go-around come September.
Indian Squad for the 38th William Jones Cup 2016
|Place of Birth
(City and State)
|Date of Birth
(cm)(ft & inches)
|4||Bhullar||Arshpreet Singh||Jalandhar||Punjab||02/10/1996||190 (6’ 3’’)||86||G/F|
|13/09/1991||195 (6’ 4.5’’)||95||G/F|
|05/01/1991||207 (6’ 9.5’’)||110||C|
|12||Philip||Basil||Sulthanbathery||Kerala||10/01/1991||184 (6’ .5”)||76||G/F|
|02/12/1990||203 (6’ 8”)||104||C|
|23||Annadurai||Aravind||Tanjore||Tamil Nadu||05/07/1993||200 (6’ 7”)||95||C|
|28/01/1991||197 (6’ 5.5”)||94||PF|
|27||Amjyot Singh||Chandigarh||Punjab/ Haryana||27/01/1992||203 (6’ 8”)||104||F|
|31/10/1992||207 (6’ 9.5”)||100||F/C|
|46||Sivakumar||Prasanna Venkatesh||Gobichettipalayam||Tamil Nadu||25/09/1992||186 (6’ 1”)||85||G/F|
|66||Pari||Akilan||Chennai||Tamil Nadu||20/07/1989||180 (5’ 10.8’’)||70||PG|
|20/10/1986||182 (5’ 11.6’’)||80||PG|
*PG – Point Guard / Feeder, G – Guard, F – Forward, G/F – Wing, PF – Power Forward, C – Centre, PF/C – Pivot
13) Coach: Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph
14) Coach: Sunny Cheruthottil Varghese
15) Physiotherapist: Navaneeth Atholi Thiruvoth
16) Manager: Chengalraya Naidu Talipinani
About the 38th William Jones Cup
The venue for the tournament is the Hsinchuang Gymnasium in the city of New Taipei, Taiwan. 9 teams are set to participate, and this includes 2 local Taipei teams. Matches will be played between 23rd of July to the 31st.
The final placement of teams will be based on their performance in a single round robin format. This will mean that every team will face every other team once.
The William Jones Cup is one of the, if not the, biggest non-FIBA Asia tournament conducted in the Asian continent as it is regularly used for the top teams in Asia as a warm-up event for the regular FIBA Asia competitions. This marks the first time since 2005 that the Indian Men’s National Team was invited. The invitation comes after India made history in back to back years, in 2014 by beating China for the first time ever and in 2015 by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years.
The list of participating teams range from National teams to amateur club and University teams, as follows:
- Egypt National Team (WR-41)
- Iran National Team (WR-17)
- India National Team (WR-53)
- Japan National Team (WR-48)
- Korea National Team (WR-30)
- Philippines (Mighty Sports Club team in the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League or ‘PCBL’)
- S.A (California State University, Sacramento)- NCAA Div I Team
- Republic of China i.e. Chinese Taipei (ROC) Team A (WR-48)
- Republic of China i.e. Chinese Taipei Team B
Tournament History and India’s Participation
The William Jones Cup is a prestigious annual invitational tournament, the inaugural edition of which was held in 1977. The Cup was conceived and named to honour Dr. Renato William Jones, who served as one of the founders of FIBA and served as its first Secretary General for 44 years. Dr. William Jones was also instrumental in the creation of an Asian Zone for FIBA, which he did at the FIBA World Congress in Tokyo in 1964.
Iran is the defending champion, while United States is the most successful participant in the competition, with 15 gold medal finishes.
The only time the Indian men’s team competed at William Jones was way back in 2005. Subsequently, the women’s team participated in 2011 and 2012. In the 2011 edition, India finished (1-3), and was placed 4th, with the team’s sole win coming against South Korea (63-69). This game was notable for Prashanti Singh’s shooting heroics as well as for Anitha Pauldurai top scoring (24 points) and Geethu Anna Jose’s 11 rebounds. In the following 2012 edition, India finished 4th again but fared better, going 2-3, by beating the Malaysian National Team and the Division III Chapman University, US.