In a rare feat, the Indian men’s basketball team stunned formidable China in its second-round group E encounter to stay in contention for a quarterfinal berth in the FIBA Asia Challenge here today.
The Indians triumphed 70-64 to hand the group-toppers their first loss. This was India’s second win in four matches and the team is currently placed third in the group.
The Indians need to finish inside the top-four to make the last-eight stage and will take on Kazakhstan in their final group encounter tomorrow.
India had earlier beaten China two years ago in the FIBA Asia Cup. Hero of yesterday’s triumph was Amritpal Singh who carried the team to the momentous victory with a superb all-round performance.
China was ahead 17-14 after the first quarter, putting up a lead that stood the highest at 9 points in the middle of the second period.
However, India scripted a turnaround from there. With China leading 27-18 in the second quarter, India tightened up their defense and went on the offensive, stated a release from FIBA.
Amritpal and Amjyot paired up to spark a 13-2 run that ended the first half 31-29 to hand India a slim 2-point advantage at the break. The Chinese could not surpass the lead after that.
The Indian defense was impeccable and forced the Chinese into committing errors. India scored 22 points off turnovers.
The 25-year-old Amritpal who plays professionally in Japan, recorded 23 points, hauled down 14 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and had 3 steals in a fantastic show of skill.
He outplayed China’s erstwhile star Hu Jinqiu, who managed 19 points and 9 boards.