Free Press Journal

India go down to Philippines after spirited fightback


Mumbai: The spirited Indian run towards the semi-finals in the 5th FIBA Asia Cup Basketball tournament at Wuhan in China was snuffed out by higher-ranked Philippines following a strong second-half fightback today.

India, ranked 61st in the world and 12th in Asia, trailed all through the match before losing the quarter-final tie 66-70 against a team which is ranked 6th in the continent and 34th in the world.

India, who shocked hosts China in the league stage on way to enter the last eight, fell behind in the first quarter to trail 17-20 and played catch up in the rest of the match.

They lost the second quarter 16-25 to trail 33-45 at half time, according to FIBA Asia website.

India made a strong comeback and narrowly lost the third quarter 14-15. In fact, they were on top in the last with a 19-10 score in their favour but the fightback came too late in the day despite a brilliant display which kept their rivals scoreless in the last five minutes of the match.

The star performer for India was Amritpal Singh, who top scored with 20 points and also picked up 10 rebounds and contributed with one assist.

Pratham Singh scored 10 points, the same as Visesh Bhriguvanshi and also had 3 rebounds and came up with four assists, while Bhriguvanshi brought off 4 rebounds and also set up as many assists.

Joginder Singh contributed 9 points along with 2 rebounds and one assist while Amjyot Singh got 8 points and came up with 10 rebounds and 3 assists.

“We made far too many mistakes in the first quarter. That cost us later on. If we had played half as well in the first quarter as we did in the fourth, the story would have been completely different,” coach Scott Flemming said.

Paul Lee (15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), Marcus Douthit (14,12,1) and Ranidel de Ocampo (13,3,0) were the main performers for Philippines, who will meet Asian and defending champions Iran in the semi-finals.

It is their third straight entry into the last four in the tournament.

India have to play against Jordan, who lost 60-75 to Iran in another quarter-final, in the placings match.