Statesman News Service
New Delhi, 19 August :India suffered their third straight defeat as they lost to Bahrain 66-79 in their last match of the six-nation Olympic Pre-Qualifying Basketball Tournament Asia in Damascus, Syria.
India finished third in the tournament with seven points(two wins ,three losses) Bahrain, with all win (10 points) record, booked their ticket to the final Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled for next year.
At world No. 84, Bahrain was the fifth-best ranked side among the six teams competing in the tournament but managed to top the table to claim the only available spot for the next round. Saudi Arabia with eight points was second.
India began with wins over hosts Syria and Indonesia but lost their way after a narrow three-point loss against Kazakhstan in their third match. They suffered a defeat in their fourth game against Saudi Arabia .
Sahaij Sekhon scored 17 points and was the top performer of the day for world No. 82 India. He also made four assists, four rebounds and two steals during the match. Muzamil Ameer Hamooda (24 points) and Mustafa Rashed (14 points) led the attack from Bahrain.
India started the match with positive intent and led Bahrain 24-17 in the first quarter. They had opportunities to increase its lead but a lack of clinical finishing allowed Bahrain to mount a comeback and turn the tables in the second quarter.
From being seven points down at the start of the second quarter, Bahrain were nine points ahead at 48-39 after 20 minutes. They added to its lead with a free-flowing attacking game in the third quarter and increased India’s deficit to 19 points.
Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, along with experienced campaigners Muin Bek Hafeez, Amyjot Gill and promising youngster Pranav Prince, did not have the best of days on the court as their side ended up losing the contest by 13 points.