*After staying within striking distance of Iran until halftime, the senior Indian men’s team ultimately bow out of the quarterfinals of the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge. India will play 5 to 8 classification matches next*

New Delhi/Bengaluru, 16th September 2016: India took on two time defending champions Iran in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall, Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran, Iran. After fighting hard in the first half, hosts Iran blew it wide open in the third quarter to win 77-47, to ease into the semis.

India will now play the classification games for 5 to 8 places. A top five finish for India will earn its South Asian Zone another berth in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup. So India still has something to play for.

Dominant third quarter pushes Iran past India

Facing Iran at home, India started off well. The first quarter was close with India trailing 18-14. India’s Big Three of centre Amritpal Singh, power forward Amjyot Singh and shooting guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi were unable to create the routine all round impact expected of them, while Iran’s rock solid ex-NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi had yet another dominant performance.

Haddadi had already registered a double double early into the second quarter. Led by him, Iran took a double digit lead 15 mins into the game, before India, through Yadwinder Singh fought back to close the half, down by just 7 points, 31-38. Despite India’s Big Three not firing on all cylinders, India had done well to hang on with its role players of Yadwinder, Talwinderjit Sahi, Rikin Pethani and Prasanna Venkatesh combining to score 13 of India’s 31 first half points.

Point guard Akilan Pari puts the ball on the floor against Iran. Image credit- FIBA Asia.

Point guard Akilan Pari puts the ball on the floor against Iran. Image credit- FIBA Asia.

That said, the match turned completely on its head in the third quarter. Amritpal had his hands full on both ends of the floor against rival centre Haddadi, and he was already onto 4 fouls early in the second half. Meanwhile Iran moved the ball excellently from side to side to make the Indian defence work extremely hard, having to guard a much larger stretch of the floor. On the other end, Iran’s physical defence forced India into contested low percentage deep outside shots. In the third quarter, India could score only 2 points as against Iran’s 26.

Iran had an unanswered 21 point run stretching from early into the 3rd quarter into the 4th, as it easily booked yet another final four spot at the Asian level.

India meanwhile, will play the first of its two 5 to 8 classification matches against the loser of the ongoing quarterfinals between Jordan and Japan, on 17th September from 5:15 pm (IST) onwards.

Results on 16/9/2016

Iran (Hamed Haddadi 17 pts & 23 reb, Sahakian 16 pts, Yakhchali 15 pts) bt India (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 14 pts, Amjyot Singh 7 pts 7 reb) 77-47 [18-14, 20-17, 26-2, 13-14]

About the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016

The FIBA Asia Challenge was previously known as the FIBA Asia Cup. It is the first step in the qualification process for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.

The top 5 teams will earn for their respective sub-zones an extra berth at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, which will be the first inter-continental tournament featuring teams from both Asia and Oceania (i.e. Australia & New Zealand). The top teams from the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup qualify to play the 2017 New Competition System, from where 7 Asian teams will progress to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge will be held at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall, located in the north & south of the main street of the Azadi Sport Complex.  Host Iran is the defending champion.

Format

The initial round of the tournament will be played in a round robin format. The 12 participating teams have been divided into 4 groups of 3 teams each, and each team will play the 2 teams that are in the same group as them.

Preliminary Round Grouping

Group A: China, Jordan, Kazakhstan

Group B: Philippines, India, Chinese Taipei

Group C: Iran, Qatar, Iraq

Group D: Japan, Korea, Thailand

All 12 preliminary round teams will advance to the second round, where they will be divided into 2 teams of 6 each. Each team will then play the 3 new teams in its group. The top 4 teams from each of the second round groups will then move on quarter-finals, followed by the semifinals and finals.

India’s Tournament Schedule (all times IST)
5 to 8 Classification

vs w/o Japan vs Jordan, 17th September 2016- 5:15 pm onwards

For more information please visit: www.fiba.com/asia/challenge/2016

India’s Squad

The final 12 members of the squad who will represent India at the FIBA Asia Challenge were selected at the end of a nearly one-month long training camp held at NMAM Institute of Technology (NITTE) in Karkala, Udupi district of coastal Karnataka.

While the Indian side remains largely unchanged from last month’s 38th William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament, there are a couple of key changes. Veteran swingman and defensive stopper Yadwinder Singh returns to the team, and is expected to provide much needed versatility on both ends of the floor in terms of matchups. Also, teenager Hariram Ragupathy, one of the stars from India’s historic 8th place finish at the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship, makes his debut into the senior team.

A small ceremony was held at the NITTE campus to bid farewell to the Indian squad, which was attended by Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General of BFI

“On behalf of BFI I convey my sincere thanks to NITTE University management, who for the last two years have been continuously providing us all the training facilities for the Indian team. This is my first visit here, but this is one of the best campus facilities I have seen,” said Mr Sharma.

Addressing the departing contingent, he said, “Ultimately, it is the outcome of your efforts which will benefit basketball in India. You are the players who are icons for all other players in the country. So I wish you all the success and that you put up a performance that is even better than in all the previous championships that you have attended.”

Senior Men’s Squad for the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016

Jersey
No
Family Name(s)

/Last Name

First Name(s)

/Given Name

Place of Birth

(City and State)

Date of Birth
(dd/mm/yyyy)
Height
(cm)
(ft & inches)
Weight

(Kg)

Position
4 Bhullar Arshpreet Singh Jalandhar Punjab 02/10/1996 190 (6’ 3’’) 86 G/F
9 Bhriguvanshi Vishesh Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 13/09/1991 195 (6’ 5’’) 95 G/F
10 Amritpal Singh Ganna Pind Punjab

 

05/01/1991 207 (6’ 9.5’’) 110 C
12 Philip Basil Sulthanbathery Kerala 10/01/1991 184 (6’) 76 G/F
14 Yadwinder Singh Rasulpur Khurd Punjab 30/12/1986 198 (6’ 6’’) 95 F
15 Pethani Rikin Sajiavadar Amreli Gujarat

 

02/12/1990 203 (6’ 8”) 104 C
22 Bhardwaj Ravi Chandigarh Chandigarh

 

31/10/1992 207 (6’ 9”) 100 F/C
25 Ragupathy Hariram Chennai Tamil Nadu 24/04/1998 184 (6’) 72 SG
27 Amjyot Singh Chandigarh Punjab/ Haryana 27/01/1992 203 (6’ 8”) 104 F
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’’) 70 PG
99 Talwinderjit Singh Patiala Punjab

 

20/10/1986 182 (5’ 11’’) 80 PG

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

13) Coach: Sat Prakash Yadav

14) Coach: C. V. Sunny

15) Physiotherapist: Nikhil N. P.

16) Manager: Shaktikumar Mahipatsinh Gohil

17) FIBA Commissioner: Norman Swaroop Issac

18) FIBA Referee: Atanu Banerjee

Team Ekalavyas
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