China finish among top five and India land at seventh
TEHRAN (FIBA Asia Challenge) - China and India came out victors during the final classification games at the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 in Tehran, Iran. India used a strong fourth quarter finish to stave off Chinese Taipei, 80-68, while China held off the Japanese, 75-67.
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amritpal Singh powered India past a reeling Chinese Taipei, which once again played sans the injured Liu Cheng. Bhriguvanshi led the way for the South Asian champs with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 three-pointers, while Singh anchored the middle with a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double. On the other end, Chinese Taipei drew a combined 31 points from the backcourt duo of Chiang Yu-An and Chou Yi-Hsiang.
Chinese Taipei looked to be the better team at the onset, leading early and often, but they just couldn’t put a far enough distance between themselves and the Indians, who eventually held the advantage, 33-32, at the half. It remained a nip-and-tuck affair for the entire third period, but coach Sat Prakash’s squad managed to stay ahead, 52-50, heading into the final frame.
Taipei last tasted the lead at the 4:56 mark of the fourth quarter after two points from Chou Yi-Hsiang, but that triggered India’s whirlwind of a finish. Coach Prakash’s wards outscored Taipei, 18-5, in the final five minutes of the match to break the game open and put the outcome beyond doubt.
Reserve frontliner Rikin Pethani also impressed for India with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while flashy playmaker Talwinderjit Singh added 13 points. Star forward Amjyot Singh played just 8 minutes and scored 6 points. Despite their 3-5 record and seventh place finish, this performance was another indication of India’s rise in Asian basketball, and they should be an even stronger force in the years to come.
After India’s triumph, it was China’s turn to celebrate as they ended their campaign on a bright note, defeating East Asia rivals Japan, 75-67. Youngster Hu Jinqiu registered another strong showing with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 1 block for the Chinese, who formally secured for East Asia a second extra berth in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, giving the sub-zone a grand total of four berths.
The match was close for the entire first half, with China eventually entering the halftime break ahead, 34-27. Japan rallied in the second half to trim the deficit to as low as 2 points, 61-59, after a Makoto Hiejima basket with 2:43 left, but coach Li Nan’s wards wouldn’t allow Japan to complete their comeback.
Hu was backstopped by Liu Zhixuan, who tallied 17 points on the strength of 3 three-pointers, while Zhao Yanhao also did well, scoring a dozen points on 5-of-7 field goal shooting. As for Japan, Hiejima led the way with 23 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists, while Ryusei Shinoyama added 10 points. Naturalized player Ira Brown was held down to just 7 points, all of which came from free throws.
For 7th Place:
India beat Chinese Taipei, 80-68
For 5th Place:
China beat Japan, 75-67