Cuttack (Odisha) [India], June 3 (ANI): Hosts India started off their campaign on a brilliant note with a comfortable 154-32 win against Maldives in the FIBA U 18 Asia Championship 2022 SABA Qualifiers here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.
Maldives were knocked out of reckoning ending up on the losing side for the second day in succession with the three teams participating in the Championship playing on a round-robin format.
The winner of the Championship will be decided Saturday as India take on Bangladesh and qualifies for the FIBA Asia Cup scheduled in Tehran, Iran in August.
Indian coaches Veselin Matic and Mohit Bhandari exuded confidence pre-game and the players never let them down with a superb performance which augurs well for the future of Indian basketball.
Kushal Singh started the scoring spree with a lay-up early in the game and such was the dominance of the host that Maldives failed to score in the first quarter and could get a successful shot only in the 3rd minute of the second quarter. Captain Harsh Dagar playing as a shooting guard led from the front and with their centre player Jitendra Kumar Sharma and power forward Lokendra Singh keeping the scorers busy, saw them take a 33-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
India continued to dominate and enjoyed territorial advantage attacking relentlessly from the flanks as they scored with consummate ease against a hapless Maldivian side which succumbed to the continuous onslaught.
Maldives also had 23 turnovers in the first half and with the winner having 20 steals as they deployed end line man-to-man marking making things difficult for their opponents to move the ball up front. India scored 39 points in the 2nd quarter as they crossed over with a 72-10 lead.
The second had the winner utilizing their entire bench stretching the lead in the 3rd quarter as they touched the three-figure mark in the 26th minute of play. Udit Ravish, Jaideep Rathore, Shreyanshu Raj Singh, Lavish and Janme Jay Singh contributed to swell India’s score as they led 116-15 going into the final quarter. Captain Ahmed Ravyan Ibrahim and Shifan were the only players who could break open to score.
India appear to be the formidable side as they clash with Bangladesh to decide the qualifier from the sub zone for the FIBA Asia Cup. A wrap up of the game in a dominating manner will raise the confidence of the team when they proceed to play with the top 16 teams in Asia. (ANI)
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