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India placed in tough group in FIBA Asia Men's Basketball

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Andray Blatche needs to step up if Gilas Pilipinas wants to beat Iran in their second round match today in the FIBA Asia Championship

India, which plays Japan on Friday to determine who will finish second in Group A, could take consolation from a huge performance by Amjyot Singh. Malaysia stepped up their game in the second quarter and was defending pretty well against the offense from Indians.

India are almost certain to qualify for the second round of the FIBA Championship in China, after their win over Malaysia in the opening match.

The third and fourth quarters too were closely fought, with Iran outscoring India by single digits in each of these 10-minute sessions.

The second was the fouling out of India's primary centre Amritpal Singh just before half-time. M. Nik Khahbahrami brought Iran their 50th point with a three-pointer in the 24th minute.

Forwards Amritpal and Amjyot are, notably, the first Indian players to secure professional playing contracts in Japan and will be raring to showcase their talent at Asia's marquee event.

Terrence Romeo looks to get past his Iranian defender
Terrence Romeo looks to get past his Iranian defender

The Koreans got off to a 12-4 start and expanded their advantage to 27-14 after the first quarter. Japan finished the first quarter leading by 23 and by the half had a 36-point cushion that was never in danger. India failed to offset this as they shot just 5-of-16 from beyond the arc and 9-of-16 from the free throw line.

Ryumo Ono chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds and Takatoshi Furukawa scored 15.

Ivan Yeo was Malaysia's best performer with 18 points and 10 rebounds while 18-year-old Yek Liang Chuan, the team's youngest member, and Kuek Tian Yuan scored 10 points each.

 

Despite sporadic fightbacks, India went down to Asian champions Iran 66-88 in a preliminary round game of the 26th FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China, on Thursday.

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