Changsha (China): The Indian men’s basketball team lost 58-84 to Qatar to finish eighth in the FIBA Asia Championship here on Saturday.
The Indian side had finished eighth in both the 2001 and 2003 editions of the Asian Championships that were also held in China at Harbin and Shanghai respectively.
The Indian team played nine matches in 11 days. In doing so, the young squad with an average age of just 24, showcased numerous positives that augur well for the future.
Notably, the standout play of India’s ‘Big 3’: power forward Amjyot Singh, point guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (also captain) and centre Amritpal Singh, had them among the top ten players across multiple statistical categories.
China beat Philippines 78-67 in the final to win the championship and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
On Saturday, Amjyot was India’s highest scorer with 21 points, while Arvind Arumugam (16) and veteran Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (10) also played well.
For Qatar, Mohamed Hasan bagged 28 points. He was ably supported by Abduallah Matalkeh (16) and Daoud M. Daoud (16).Qatar showed their class from the beginning and ran away with the first quarter 23-14. They continued to outscore India in the second quarter and led 51-30 by half-time.
Trailing by 21 points, India put up an improved show in the third quarter that ended 69-46 in Qatar’s favour.
The Indians then came up with a strong finish by outscoring their opponents in the last session, 15-12. But it was too little too late by then.