MALE (MALDIVES): India started their title defence against hosts Maldives and steamrolled to a 84-42 win on the back on centre Amritpal’s 25 points and 8 boards in the 5th South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship. India shot a quality 45.9% (34/74) from the field and shut down the Maldives offence who shot a mere 24.2% (16/66) from the field.
India got off to an early lead by using their size advantage against a rather small Maldives line up. “Feeding the big men and scoring from the paint was the team’s game plan,” said Amritpal Singh – the game’s leading scorer. India even displayed its defensive prowess by suffocating the Maldives offence with their 2-1-2 zone defence. The score at the end of the quarter was 22-3 in favour of India.
Once India established its lead, the game seemed to get on autopilot for the defending champs. India began shooting the ball from the outside and often beat Maldives by its ball movement. Coach S Baskar used the lead to rotate his entire squad and each man off the bench played as hard on defence. “The younger guys got quality minutes and played impressively,” said Singh. “Once we had the lead, it was easy for the guys coming in off the bench to get into the game and make shots.” Anil Kumar BK was India’s second leading scorer with 10 points. For the hosts, Zilaal Mohamed was their only player in double digits with 12 points.
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