In a morale-boosting display of confident and aggressive basketball, 51st ranked India made DPR Korea, ranked 19th in the world, work hard for the 104-85 win in the 4th FIBA Asia Championship for U16 Boys that is underway in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After trailing 36-48 at halftime, the GOR Pulogadung arena was treated to a ferocious comeback by the young Indian cagers in the third quarter, who outscored the Koreans 32-28. The final ten minutes saw Korea re-establish its double-digit lead but not without conceding key positives to their
Captain Baladhaneshwar impresses
Yesterday, in India’s opening game against China, Head Coach MS Rathore astutely rotated his bench, and the on court minutes proved crucial in ensuring that the 8 players who stepped on the court today all played their part.
Chief among them was Captain P Baladhaneshwar who announced his arrival at the Asian level with a monster display of 33 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. Young point guard Manoj Sisodia had a second straight solid game, returning with balanced figures of 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Tamil Nadu centre Adarsh Jayakumar had a breakout match of his own, scoring 23 points.
These individual positives apart, India will need to take better care of the ball and improve its rebounding numbers when it next faces Iraq in tomorrow’s final preliminary league match at 4:30 pm IST. The winner will join DPR Korea and China from Group D in the second round.
India (P Baladhaneshwar 33 pts, 10 rbs, 5 assists & 4 steals; Manoj Singh Sisodia 12 pts, 6 assists, Adarsh Jayakumar 23 pts) lost to DPR Korea (Jae Yang 25 pts & 12 rbs, Sechan Seomoon 22 pts, Hyunjung Lee 19 pts) 85-104 [23-26, 13-22, 32-28, 17-28].