While praising his team’s defence in the second half, Lebanon Coach Joe Moujaes also had words of appreciation for losing rivals India.
Last night, India got overpowered by an undermanned and second-string Lebanon team in the final first-round game of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Both teams had already cemented their respective positions in the Group – Lebanon at the top, and India at third – for this game to have any consequential meaning.
“Credit also to India. They are improving every day. Every game we play against them they are better and better. This is great for Asian basketball,” said Coach Moujaes in the post-game press conference.
Lebanon finished a perfect 6-0 in these Qualifiers, by virtue of which they will directly advance to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup later this year.
Meanwhile, India (2-4) was third in the group and will proceed to play a Final Qualifying Tournament in June-July, for a spot in the continental championship.
The Lebanon Coach’s positive comments towards India are significant in that they followed India head Coach Veselin Matic’s own words of praise towards ‘The Cedars’.
🗣️"I coached [their] national team and I coached in their league, which is one of the strongest leagues in this part of Asia," @tozamatic #IndiaBasketball @FIBAAsiaCup @FLBB_OFFICIAL https://t.co/tDGr90NBR9
— Ekalavyas (Basketball_India) (@EkBballIndia) February 23, 2021
In their first head to head game, India had lost to Lebanon by a margin of 55 points. So by a simple numeric comparison, the 28 point, 71-99 loss last night does seem like an improvement.
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