SABA tournament: India sitting pretty

With two wins in as many matches, the host holds a clear edge over its nearest rivals, Bangladesh and Maldives.

The Indians (blue) had an easy outing against Maldives.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

India all but clinched the South Asian Basketball Association tournament title with a 96-40 victory over Maldives here on Thursday.

With two wins in as many matches, the host holds a clear edge over its nearest rivals, Bangladesh and Maldives. Both neighbouring nations have one loss and a win each. India is expected to put it across Bangladesh on Friday, the final day of the championship.

An all-round show from the Indians shut Maldives out of the contest. Talwinderjit Sahi, Rikin Pethani, Ravi Bhardwaj, Amritpal Singh, Arjun Singh and Arshpreet Bhullar all scored in double figures, while Arvind Arumugam grabbed 10 rebounds. It was an especially pleasing night for Bhardwaj and Bhullar, both of whom are competing in their maiden international tournaments.

The visitor showed admirable grit against great odds, but was simply overmatched.

Earlier, a couple of late three-pointers from Mithun Kumar helped Bangladesh record an exciting 73-71 victory over Nepal.

The results:

Bangladesh 73 (Mithun Kumar 22, Ata-ur Rahman 22) bt Nepal 71 (Sadish Pradhan 26, S. Ashim 22); India 96 (Talwinderjit Sahi 15, Rikin Pethani 13, Ravi Bhardwaj 12, Amritpal Singh 11, Arjun Singh 11, Arshpreet Bhullar 10) bt Maldives 40 (V. Ismail 9).