In a repeat of 2014, the senior Indian men's team beats heavyweights China 70-64, to inch closer to a quarterfinals spot with a game against Kazakhstan remaining.
New Delhi/Bengaluru, 13th September 2016: Second round action of the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 continued today at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall, Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran, Iran. Led by captain centre Amritpal Singh, the Indian men's team stunned Group E leaders China 70-64 earlier today, to inch closer to a quarterfinals spot.
Coming into this match, India had lost 2 straight games, against Chinese Taipei in round 1, and its initial second round match against Jordan yesterday. China though had an unblemished 3-0 record and looked to keep it that way as it led 27-18 halfway through the second quarter. Fighting Back
But suddenly, India came alive, with the defensive brilliance of its frontcourt of Amjyot Singh and Amritpal Singh sparking a 13-2 run to close out the period with a slender 31-29 lead.
In the second half, captain centre Amritpal Singh came into his own, bulldozing his way into the paint, to score 8 points within the first 3:30 mins. It was China's turn now to feel the heat, as the pressure mounted on the relatively younger side (average age 22 yrs as against India's 24 yrs). The error prone China had 22 turnovers and virtually gave up the interior to India. Pounding on the boards, India had 19 offensive rebounds which contributed to 18 second chance points.
India now led 51-45 to end the third quarter, and a repeat of its path breaking upset from 2014 seemed well on the cards. However, the Young Cagers were faced with a perplexing dilemma of their own. Two of its Big Three of Amjyot and Amritpal were on four fouls each, but Head Coach Sat Prakash Yadav chose to keep them on the floor. China showed better aggression to begin Q4, as India's once 11 point lead late in the third quarter was cut down to just 4, 53-49. India's bench steps up
With Amjyot and Amritpal having to go passive in a bid to avoid getting fouled out, veteran guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi managed the clock perfectly, to give India quality possessions on offense. But the dagger was provided by none other than Amritpal who stripped his rival Chinese centre off the ball, and threw down a monstrous dunk to get India back up by 6 pts, 55-49 with 7:50 left in the game.
Amjyot had already fouled out by then and Amritpal soon followed. Suddenly, with 5 minutes left India was faced with the daunting prospect of protecting a 9 point lead (60-51) with its starting frontcourt consigned to the bench. Admirably, the backup forwards of Rikin Pethani and Ravi Bhardwaj showed excellent composure on both ends of the floor to ensure India's memorable 70-64 victory.
Aggression to the fore
According to Bhriguvanshi and Head Coach Sat Prakash Yadav, defence was heavily emphasized. 'Overall it was a team effort and they played as well as they did at the practice sessions at NITTE Campus. We worked on defence and this gave my boys more confidence on offense. Our strategy was to pressure the ball man and not let the first receiver receive the pass easily,' said Yadav.
Bhriguvanshi also echoed that sentiment, 'We just thought, let's play good defence. It was a great game by the team and I can really say that we played a perfect team game.'
'As we planned right from the beginning, we played great half court pressure defence. Our team did not allow China to receive the ball in the shooting range, so they were forced to attempt low percentage shots from farther out,' said assistant coach CV Sunny.
The numbers back up their statements, as India had more steals (11-6), blocks (4-1) and rebounds (45-37). Much of this can be credited to centre Amritpal Singh, who averaged his third straight double double of the tournament.
No doubt this is a massive upset, with China ranked 14th in the world compared to India's 53. But it is to be remembered that like Philippines, another much higher ranked team upset by India earlier in this tournament, China too has sent a younger unit. Only one Chinese player - centre Yuchen Zou - has been retained from its 2016 Olympic squad. Notably, China's two NBA level starting forwards Yi Jianlian (Los Angeles Lakers) and Zhou Qi (Houston Rockets) are absent from the side.
That said, it could equally be argued that India too has been missing the likes of centre Satnam Singh and power forward Palpreet Singh. The former is currently with NBA D League side Texas Legends, while the latter is at present trying out for the D League. Additionally, it must be emphasized that the average age of the Indian squad itself is just 24, meaning that the core will remain largely intact for the next few years.
Despite the result, China stays on top of Group E. India on the other hand has temporarily climbed up to the 3rd spot. India takes on bottom placed Kazakhstan tomorrow from 5pm onwards in its final second round game. A win will guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while a loss could still see it through provided Jordan beats Philippines in their final head to head tomorrow morning.
Results on 13/9/2016 India (Amritpal Singh 23 pts 14 reb 3 blk 3 stl, Amjyot Singh 16 pts 8 reb, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 15 pts 6 ast 3 stl) bt China (Jinqiu Hu 19 pts, Tianju He 12 pts) 70-64 [14-17, 17-12, 20-16, 19-19]
The inside stories of Indian Basketball - Sony Six TV - 2 days ago
High up in the hilly abode of Himachal Pradesh, lies a fascinating little basketball secret. The Sherabling Monastery, located in Dharamshala, has monks who are in love with basketball. That's right, children from the monastery go out and enjoy the sport that is loved by millions around the globe. NBA Hangout, a new weekly show, gives us an inside view of the fascinating stories related to basketball in India. A segment in the brand new show talks about how basketball has entered the liv... [read more]
High up in the hilly abode of Himachal Pradesh, lies a fascinating little basketball secret. The Sherabling Monastery, located in Dharamshala, has monks who are in love with basketball. That's right, children from the monastery go out and enjoy the sport that is loved by millions around the globe.
NBA Hangout, a new weekly show, gives us an inside view of the fascinating stories related to basketball in India. A segment in the brand new show talks about how basketball has entered the lives of the monks at Sherabling Monastery. The story was quite different a decade ago when monks in Buddhist monasteries weren't allowed to play sports. However, with the growing awareness about the positive mental and physical influence of sports, the children at the monastery were allowed to explore the boon of sports. The rest, as they say, is history. Preferring to play basketball over indoor activities like video games, these young monks cannot wait to get out and shoot some hoops.
Besides the children being astutely aware of the many benefits of playing basketball (one particularly jovial boy mentions his ambitions of growing really tall and becoming a champion in the sport), what strikes a chord is the sheer joy basketball brings them. Despite playing other sports, they monks have a special fondness for basketball and are very enthusiastic about playing it everyday.
Whatever their reasons for playing, whatever the story behind their discovery of the sport, one thing is for certain. Basketball has added a touch of color to the austere lives led by the monks and is a heart-warming example of the magic of hoops and sport in general.
You can catch more such fascinating stories on NBA Hangout on TVF Play and on Thursday at 7 P.M. on Six and Six HD
ONGC Dehradun scored its second straight win defeating Income Tax (Gujarat) 88-71 in men's Group B league of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship here on Thursday. The IT boys knew they were up against one of the best teams in the country. But they displayed guts of steel, dribbling boldly and confidently into the rival area for precious points, in the first quarter. ONGC, the championship favourite, meanwhile, played in a much relaxed manner. The idea was to exercise its str... [read more]
ONGC Dehradun scored its second straight win defeating Income Tax (Gujarat) 88-71 in men's Group B league of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship here on Thursday.
The IT boys knew they were up against one of the best teams in the country. But they displayed guts of steel, dribbling boldly and confidently into the rival area for precious points, in the first quarter.
ONGC, the championship favourite, meanwhile, played in a much relaxed manner. The idea was to exercise its strategies for the final league against a strong Indian Overseas Bank on Friday. It was, in fact, a rehearsal of sorts for the team.
After its main players secured a good 15-point lead in the first session, ONGC tested its bench strength.
Income Tax, on the other hand, continued to work hard at the flanks. Dishanth V. Shah, the only tall star in the team, who looked smooth and easy beating the defence in the first half, suddenly could not find the space to move around as he was completely checked by the big men from Uttarakhand.
Income Tax could have still made a match of it had its bench been strong enough. It had just three to boast of as against ONGC's eight. They tried their level best in the final quarter but the damage had already been done.
Late on Wednesday, Customs and Central Excise (Kerala) held its nerves to clinch a 78-77 thriller over a fighting Ludhiana BA.
The results: Men: ONGC (Uttarakhand) 88 (Yadwinder Singh 21, Vishesh Briguvanshi 20) bt Income Tax (Gujarat) 71 (Dishant V. Shah 20, Indravijay Singh 16); Army Service Corps & Centre (Karnataka) 87 (Issac T. Thomas 28, Vivekananda 16) bt Ludhiana BA 64 (Arshpreet Singh 19, Rajveer Singh 18); IOB 75 bt Central Railway 58.
On Wednesday: IOB 82 (G. Sivabalan 20, Hareesh Koroth 19) bt Income Tax (Gujarat) 71 (Dhaval P. Ulva 20, Dishan V. Shaji 19); Customs & Central Excise (Kerala) 78 (R. Manoj 30, K.R. Nikhil 23) bt Ludhiana BA 77 (Arshpreet Bhullar 21, Rahul Mehla 16).
Women: West Bengal 76 (Madhu Kumari 25, Sitamani Tudu 19) bt Kerala 55 (P.G. Anjana 11, Nimmi George 9); Chhattisgarh 105 (Poonam Chaturvedi 42, Riya Verma 18) bt Punjab 75 (Nicha Netam 15, Mahima Bharadwaj 11).
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (26 points) and Amritpal Singh (19 points) did the bulk of the scoring as defending champion ONGC (Uttarakhand) defeated first-time entrant Central Railways (CR) 75-64 in the men's Group B league of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship here on Wednesday. ONGC fielded its top five at the start, but they failed to fire early. Central Railways cashed in on the chance and raced to a 6-2 lead in the opening minute with Raj Kalbhok shooting twice from outside th... [read more]
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (26 points) and Amritpal Singh (19 points) did the bulk of the scoring as defending champion ONGC (Uttarakhand) defeated first-time entrant Central Railways (CR) 75-64 in the men's Group B league of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship here on Wednesday.
ONGC fielded its top five at the start, but they failed to fire early. Central Railways cashed in on the chance and raced to a 6-2 lead in the opening minute with Raj Kalbhok shooting twice from outside the ring. ONGC did its best to keep the young shooter in check.
Later, after tightening the screws, it went into attack mode through Bhriguvanshi and Amritpal.
It was the former, in fact, who made a big difference. Standing at over six-foot, the playmaker showed great ball control. He cut down pace time and again and pressed on the power button when it mattered most to make it difficult for Railways.
Amritpal offered him great support and the points started to flow. However, the Central Railways team managed to stay close with ONGC leading 43-32 at the break.
It was ONGC's brilliance in the second half that decided the outcome of the game. It rested its stars, barring Bhriguvanshi, and tested its bench which did the finishing well. ONGC was all over Railways for most part of the last quarter. Railways could have matched the points charts had it not concentrated too hard on its defence. 'It was our first match so it took some time for us to settle down,' said ONGC coach Amit Kumar.
He had words of praise for the Central Railways side. 'They were really good. They were all new players and it was quite natural that they came out with new ideas.'
Central Railways coach Hanif Patel was pleased with his team's performance.
'We lost, but not without a fight. ONGC is a strong side and our boys made a match out of it. We played four of our tall players, but still struggled to beat the ONGC defence. That was because they stood taller than our boys.
Men: Army Service Corps & Centre (Karnataka) 57 (Isaac Thomas 16, Shashi Kumar 13, Jeethendar Singh 13) bt Indian Air Force 51 (Narendra Kumar 20, Joginder Singh 10); ONGC (Uttarakhand) 75 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 26, Amritpal Singh 19) bt Central Railways 64 (C. Amit 22, Akshadeep 11).
Women: Telangana 70 (Divya Palanivel 15, Aswathy 14, M. Gayathri 10) bt Punjab 39 (Gagandeep 10); Kerala 74 (P.R. Surya 16, P.G. Anjana 13) bt Delhi 36 (Sahiba Maan 12); Tamil Nadu 72 bt West Bengal 67; Southern Railway 69 bt Chhattisgarh 51. Courtesy - The Hindu
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