Bengaluru, July 5 (IANS) Defending champions India and challengers Sri Lanka progressed to the expected title clash in the fourth South Asian Basketball Association tournament here on Sunday by remaining unbeaten in their four matches.
India roared past the Maldives 128-48 and Sri Lanka survived some close calls before overcoming Nepal 76-68 to register their fourth win in as many matches.
Nepal thus completed their engagements in the competition with two wins and three defeats, but won the hearts with their gutsy performance despite inadequate preparation due to the devastating earthquake earlier this summer.
India will clash with Sri Lanka later on the day to decide the tournament winners who will earn a berth in the 2015 Asian Championship to be held in China in September.
While the Indians, with Prasanna Venkatesh (26) and skipper Rikin Pethani (21) doing the bulk of scoring, faced no worthwhile opposition as they tallied their third straight 100-plus points, Sri Lanka were kept on tenterhooks by a spirited Nepal in a match that could have gone either way.
Also registering a win were Bangladesh who signed off with a 82-70 decision against Bhutan for their second success in five outings.
Bangladesh 82 (Tareq Aziz 26, Mithunkumar Biswas 18) bt Bhutan 70 (Rinchen Dorji 21, Tashi Tendhar 12). HT: 37-33.
India 128 (Prasanna Venkatesh 26, Rikin Pethani 21) bt the Maldives 48 (Zakariya Latheef 14). HT: 67-18.
Sri Lanka 76 (Randima Sooriyaachchi 14) bt Nepal 68 (Ayush Singh 13, Sadish Pradhan 12). HT: 36-39.