25 May, 2024
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7 Muin Bek Hafeez (TAM), 19 Pranav Prince (TAM)
29/05/2024
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Tamil Nadu's Final 8 stint a start of something for Indian hoops, says Pranav Prince

DOHA (Qatar) - Pranav Prince believes that Tamil Nadu's participation in the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8 2024 would be beneficial for Indian basketball moving forward.

The champions from India weren't able to post a win in the three games they played in the tournament, but the young winger said that their campaign as a whole was already a victory in itself - so much so that it could mark the start of something for the sport in their country.

"This is the beginning of something for Indian basketball," the men's team standout said. "I think to be recognized in one of the biggest stages in Asia, I think it's a huge responsibility for us."

"We are not just carrying the name of our club. We are also carrying the name of the nation. We couldn't win games, but we gained a lot of experience. We gained a lot of knowledge."

Prince offered as much moments after Tamil Nadu bowed to Kazma by way of a 102-96 decision on Tuesday night at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall to wrap up their stint.

It was, without a doubt, their best showing of the tournament. There, the wards of Coach CV Sunny fought back from as much as 21 points down in the third quarter and got to within just three, 95-92, behind a triple by the 20-year-old with 6.2 seconds left to play.

"When we had a discussion during halftime, it was about how to be aggressive on the court We showed out in the second half. I think if we had done the same thing in the first half, and throughout the game, I think we would have won," said Prince.

They ultimately fell short, but not without earning the respect of their opponents for the gallant stand they showed against the 2023-24 Gulf League third-placers.

"These guys came in and fought for three straight games. A lot of respect to them," lauded Clint Chapman, who led the Kuwaiti side with 39 points and 16 rebounds.

The star big man couldn't be more accurate that Tamil Nadu did put up a fight in the whole tourney. Sure, they absorbed double-digit loses to Kuwait Club and Shahrdary Gorgan in their first two games, but those, no doubt, were respectable showings from the squad.

 

We had all the players and everyone back home praying for us and rooting for us. It was really great.

 

As they say, you either win or you learn, and Prince is carrying that mantra following what he sees as an experience to remember after taking part in the prestigious Final 8.

"Like I said, we are here to gain knowledge," he said. "We are here to prepare for future games. This was really helpful for me -- not just for me, for all of our team. And I'm sure Coach also had a great experience, and he also got to know how to compete at the next level."

As their campaign comes to a close, Prince is now looking forward to what the future holds for Indian basketball, which appears to be an exciting one given what lies ahead.

"I think for us, there are talks of national leagues coming up in our country. We are looking forward to the national leagues that are coming up in India," the NBA Academy India product said. "This, like I said, is the beginning of something big for Indian basketball."

"Us coming here representing not just Tamil Nadu but representing Indian basketball, we had all the players and everyone back home praying for us and rooting for us. It was really great," furthered Prince. "This is a good experience for Indian basketball."

FIBA