Indian basketball team loses to Chinese Taipei

Tehran, Sep 10 (IANS) India’s basketball team fell to Chinese Taipei 66-90 in their second preliminary round match of the FIBA Asia Challenge at the Twelve Thousand People Sport Hall here on Saturday.

India, who defeated the Philippines on Friday, will now play the second round starting from Monday. All 12 preliminary rounds advanced to the second round, where they will be divided into two groups of 6 each.

India started the game with guards Talwinderjit ‘TJ’ Sahi and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, forwards Yadwinder Singh and Amjyot Singh, with the 6ft 9.5 inch Amritpal Singh playing centre.

Chinese Taipei’s naturalised player from the United States, Quincy Davis and Yadwinder traded opening buckets, before Taipei closed out the first quarter with a 26-20 lead.

India chose to stick with their starters in the opening quarter, making its first substitution four minutes into the second period, with Prasanna Venkatesh coming in for Yadwinder.

Within a few minutes Venkatesh began making an impact, grabbing an offensive rebound that was followed by a tip in by Amritpal, to bring India within three points of Taipei.

Late in the second quarter, power forward Rikin Pethani got his first minutes of the tournament, giving Amjyot Singh much needed rest.

Taipei meanwhile continued to rotate their players en masse to ensure fresh legs on the floor. India had done an excellent job defensively to restrict Taipei to 15 points in the second quarter, and at halftime trailed 35-41.

With little to separate the two teams in the first half, the fresher Taipei team repeated its aggression from the first quarter. Captain Cheng Liu took the lead, scoring all of his team’s 10 points to start the second half with a 10-3 run.

India tried to catch up via Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, but the score at the end of the third quarter read 67-50 in favour of Taipei.

Bhriguvanshi and Sahi connected on some quick threes to give India a glimmer of hope for a fourth quarter comeback, but Taipei proved equal to the task.

Bhriguvanshi ended with a game high 34 points, including five threes and went 9/10 from the free throw line. However, the key difference was that while Bhriguvanshi and Amritpal built on their good performances from Friday, top scorer Amjyot was restricted to just six points in the entire game.

Results: Chinese Taipei (Yi-Hsiang Chou 23, Quincy Davis 18 pts & 14 reb, Cheng Liu 13 pts & 10 reb) bt India (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 34 pts & 3 stl, Amritpal Singh 14 pts & 10 reb) 90-66 (26-20, 15-15, 26-15, 23-16).

–IANS

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