India and basketball don’t necessarily get brought up simultaneously. Simply put, the country doesn’t have much history with the sport.
All that, however, changed last week when India defeated China 65-58 in a Group A game of the 5th FIBA Asia Cup basketball championship. For India, ranked No. 61 in the world, this was their first victory over No. 12 China.
Pratham Singh and Amjyot Singh each put up 13 points, and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi pitched in with 10 of his own for India.
China, who has won the Asian Basketball Championship 15 times, had defeated India in their previous seven meetings. Get this, China had defeated India by at least 30 points in those previous matchups.
The momentum is finally shifting towards India and basketball is getting ready to be the next big wave in India. There is finally enough resources and the infrastructure is adapting to higher international demands. Thanks largely in part to their coach Scott Fleming, an American, basketball is just about set to tip off in India.
“In fact, I’m more surprised that this was the first win for India against China,” said Fleming. “Because we have a lot of potential and this should have happened much earlier. For me personally, this win was another game in this competition. We have lot more games to go. But for these guys (the players) it’s a great result for all the hard work they have put all these years. I’m so happy for these players. And I’m so happy for the country.
I’ve coached for 32 years in the USA, and the only reason I came here win or lose was to make a difference in the lives of these players. There were a few questions asked when we won in January (at the Lusofonia Games beating Angola). I think this win last night adds credibility to that earlier victory. With this win, we are no longer a team with just potential. We can also perform to prove it.”