India crowned SABA champion for second straight time
Defending champions India notched up an emphatic 93-44 win over Sri Lanka in the finals of 4th South Asian Basketball Championship (SABA) at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
Both the sides came into this all-important last league match with perfect 4-0 records but India had the last laugh on Sunday as the Indian team also qualified for the FIBA Asia Championship in China in September.
India has relied all along on its much taller <g data-gr-id="20">frontline</g>, aggressive man-to-man defence, counter-attacking on the break and effective outside shooting to register 100+ points in three of their earlier four matches. The final game against Sri Lanka was no different.
22-year-old Praneeth Udumalagala and first substitute <g data-gr-id="22">Thimothi</g> Thineshkanth fought valiantly to keep Sri Lanka’s scoreboard ticking. But with India scoring almost twice as quickly (46-26 at halftime) it was a constantly slippery slope for the islanders.
The third quarter saw the Indian team go on a particularly vicious tear, starting with a 9-0 run coming out of the halftime break.
“I can’t deny that I am disappointed,” Sri Lanka Head Coach Panduka Ranasinghe said after the loss. “But credit to what (India Head Coach) Prasad has managed to do with his team.”