India's Asia Cup performance is a milestone, says coach
Posted on Jul 23 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, July 23 : India basketball coach Scott Flemming has dubbed the country's performance in the recently held 5th FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, as "a significant milestone for the national team".
India, who finished seventh in the tournament, qualified for this year's tournament after winning the South Asian Basketball Association Championship in May 2014.
India is ranked 61st in the FIBA World Rankings for men and 11th in Asia.
"This a significant milestone for the Indian national team and for the country. I am grateful to those that have come before me and we will do our best to build for the future," Flemming, formerly a coach in the NBA's D-League and in the NCAA, said.
"This victory over China shows that we are no longer just a team with potential but we can compete and win against the best teams in Asia. I am very proud of the strides our players have made," he added.
The highlight of this year's tournament was a historic victory over China in the first round of the tournament. The 65-58 victory over the FIBA world No.12 was the nation's first ever triumph over China in the normal 5 on 5 format.
Barring their opening loss to Japan, India were competitive in every match, holding a halftime lead against eventual champions Iran and losing by four points to FIBA World Cup participants Philippines.
This tournament's success is just one in a serious of positive results for the Indian cagers. In addition to their SABA victory, the team also took home the gold medal in January at the Lusofonia Games in Goa.
India's top scorers at the tournament were Amjyot Singh (14.7 points per game), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (10.6 points per game) and Amrit Pal Singh (10.3 points per page).
Amjyot and Amrip Pal also led the team in rebounds with and 6.9 and 6.7 rebounds per game, respectively.
Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi led the competition with an average of 4.1 assists per game.
Roopam Harish Sharma, the CEO of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), expressed her enthusiasm for the team's results.
"The FIBA Asia Cup is one of the biggest international challenges in the calendar for India's senior side. We are happy to see the team perform at their best on the international stage and know that this result is just one of many more to come," said Sharma.
India's next challenge will be at the 27th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea from Sep 19-Oct 4.