Mumbai, June 17 (Ajit Weekly News) Indian cagers put up a brilliant fight against a strong Japan team but lost out on a chance of qualifying for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022, suffering a narrow 90-85 defeat in the FIBA U16 Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar on Friday.
The defeat against the strong opponent meant India missed out on the chance of making it to the semifinal.
The young Akatsuki Five led the entire way after claiming the lead after the first 21 seconds, but India never backed down. The lead was as big as 15 points in the middle of the match for Japan, but India closed the gap down time and again to even one point late in the game.
The dagger that seemingly clinched the game for Japan was Yuto Kawashima’s three-pointer with less than 30 seconds to go to make it a two-possession game. The clutch shot was the icing on the cake for Kawashima in yet another outstanding game played by the youngster.
His 32 points mark the highest scored so far by any player in the competition this year, while his 17-rebound performance stands as top-5 in total rebounds in a single game, according to a report on the FIBA website.
Three-point shooting was key for Japan in this matchup, aside from Kawashima’s late-game triple. Kawashima himself had 6 three-pointers on 10 attempts and Japan also got 5 more long-distance shots from Eiijiro Ogawa who had another double-digit scoring game.
India put up a valiant effort, once again led by Kushal and Lokendra Singh. Kushal nearly matched Kawashima’s tournament-high and instead tied his own personal high with 31 points while also getting 9 rebounds and three steals. Lokendra added in 20 points, nine rebounds, and two assists.
But in the end, the efforts fell short by a narrow margin.
Japan were rewarded for their efforts in this hard-earned victory against a tough opponent with a trip to the semifinals and qualification for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022 to be played in Malaga, Spain from July 2-10.
–Ajit Weekly News