Basketball: India, Sri Lanka on course

Bengaluru, July 4 (IANS) India and Sri Lanka kept their slates clean by recording third consecutive wins in the fourth South Asian Basketball Association’s Asian Championship qualifying tournament here on Saturday to stay on course for a possible title-deciding clash.

While defending champions India drubbed Bhutan 119-52 for their third straight win, Sri Lanka, who are expected to be the home team’s only serious challengers, romped to a 92-66 win over Maldives in the morning and later subdued Bangladesh 80-63 to remain unbeaten.

As in their previous two matches Friday, the Indians proved just too good for their opponents though Bhutan showed some fight after managing just six points in the first quarter.

Bhutan did well to keep pace with India in the second quarter that was shared 20-20 before the hosts, leading 59-26 at half-time, upped their game on resumption to crush their rivals.

Starring in Indian win was young Gurvinder Singh Gill who tallied 20 points, followed by Karnataka’s A. Aravind (19) and Joginder Singh Saharan (12) who also had 10 assists to his credit.

India are scheduled to play their remaining two matches Sunday when they take on Maldives in the morning and Sri Lanka in the tournament’s last match in the evening.

Meanwhile, Nepal came away with a mixed bag as they edged past Bangladesh 87-74 for their second win but went down 68-72 to Maldives in the evening match. Nepal had beaten Bhutan 72-58 late Friday night after losing to India in their opening fixture.

The results:

Evening session: Sri Lanka 80 (Praneeth Udumalagala 26, Thimothi Thineshkanth 21, Sudesh Ahamed 10) bt Bangladesh 63 (Mithunkumar Biswas 20, Mithun Sarkan 18). HT: 35-35.

Maldives 72 (Ibrahim Rashwaan 20, Ahmed Zabeer 10) bt Nepal 68 (Sadish Pradhan 26). Ht: 36-34.

Morning session: Sri Lanka 92 (Praneeth Udumalagala 28, Chamath 11, Roshan Fernando 11) bt Maldives 66 (Ahmed Aushan 16, Mohamed Zilal 13). HT: 36-29.

Nepal 87 (Sadish Pradhan 17, Ashin Shrestha 14) bt Bangladesh 74 (Mithun kumar 24, Mithun Sarkan 22). HT: 37-29.

India 119 (Gurvinder Singh Gill 20, A. Arvind 19, Joginder Singh Saharan 12) bt Bhutan 52 (Rinchen Dorji 14). HT: 59-26.

Friday night: Nepal 72 (Ashim 18, Bikram Joshi 12) bt Bhutan 58 (Wangchuk 17, Karma Singye 10). HT: 26-28.

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