In their final first-round game of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers, the Indian men’s basketball team was defeated 79-63 by the Philippines on Sunday in Manila. India lost all four of its games in Group A, which meant that they finished the first round without a single victory. In addition to losing to New Zealand 101-46 and 95-60, the Indian team also fell to the Philippines 88-64 in the rematch.
India into the Second Round
India nonetheless advanced to the second round. South Korea, the fourth country in Group A, was eliminated due to an epidemic of COVID-19 in their camp. Twelve teams from Asia and Oceania altogether have made it through to the second stage of the qualifiers. The second stage will begin in August.
India’s Muin Bek Hafeez was the team’s top scorer
At the Mall of Asia Arena, India’s Muin Bek Hafeez led the team in scoring with 13 points against the world No. 34 Philippines. Sahaij Pratap Singh and Arvind Kumar Krishnan both chipped in with 12 each. However, India’s poor defense allowed the Philippines to prevail.
India’s Ugly Defensive Display
India is now rated 82nd in the world, at quite a distance from its opponents. They fell behind early on as the hosts took an early lead of 21-10 thanks in large part to Dwight Ramos’ outstanding performance. The Philippines scored 23 more points in the second period to increase their lead to 45-24 at the intermission. The visitors increased their offensive output but continued to struggle defensively.
One Final Attempt by India
The Philippines led by more than 20 points at the end of the third quarter. India fought back and reduced the deficit to 14 points in the fourth. But with only two minutes left in the game, India was unable to close the difference and lost valiantly.