2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day One

Basketball action kicked off in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea yesterday, with four teams gaining significant ground in trying to qualify for the next round. There weren’t any surprising results save for the big upset of Mongolia over fellow East Asian side Hong Kong. In the other games, Kazakhstan and Kuwait routed their foes even as rising power India continued flashing its impressive form.

Abdullah Al-Shammari rises in traffic as Kuwait blasted the Maldives.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

Game recaps:
Mongolia avenged its loss to Hong Kong in the 2013 East Asian Games by turning to its two young stars, Sanchir Tungalag and Bilguun Battuvishin. Tungalag led the way with 31 points and 13 rebounds, playing all but two minutes, while Battuvishin added 27 points, 7 boards, and 3 triples. This win puts the Mongolians one step closer to the next round and might even push them to first place should they beat Kuwait and lowly Maldives in their next games. It was a sorry result for the Hong Kongers, who were hoping to build on their top ten finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championships. They now have to win their remaining two games to advance. They shot better from the field, but they also got outrebounded and turned the ball over 19 times. Duncan Reid led Hong Kong with 15 points, while Lo Yi Ting and Chan Siu Wing each  tallied 14 markers.

Bilguun Battuvishin goes up strong against Fong Shing Yee as the Mongolians thwarted Hong Kong.
(image from the Asian Games)

Saudi Arabia started off well, outscoring Kazakhstan in the first frame and keeping things tight till the break, but the former Soviet territory turned on the jets in the second half and blew the game open for their first win in the tourney. Half-Australian Anatoliy Bose Kolesnikov made his debut for the Kazakh national team, scoring a team-high 18 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 2 steals. Dimo Klimov also did well, backstopping Kolesnikov with 17 markers and 8 boards. On the other end, the Saudis were paced by Marzouq and Ayman Al-Muwallad, who scored 19 and 14 points respectively. Kazakhstan grossly outrebounded Saudi Arabia, 49-29, and limited its foes to just 36% FG shooting.

KUWAIT over MALDIVES, 116-44
Kuwait wasted no time in disposing of an undersized and overmatched Maldivian side. The Gulf nation led by 20 at the end of one and proceeded to continue the romp. They were led by Abdullah Al-Shammari’s 23 points, while Ahmad Al-Baloushi and Abdulaziz Mohmammad dropped 14 and 13 markers respectively. Kuwait outclassed Maldives on the boards, 49-24, and also shot 63% from the floor. Ibrahim Rashwaan and Mohamed Zilaal tossed in a combined 28 points for the losing squad.

Rising south Asian nation India started its Asian Games campaign with aplomb, blasting Palestine for its first win of the competition. Coach Scott Flemming’s wards shot 52% from the field, including hitting 13 treys, which made up for losing the rebounding battle, 39-44. India played great D here, forcing 26 Palestinian turnovers on account of 19 steals. Versatile 6’9 small forward Amjyot Singh was all over the place here, dropping 25 points on 63% FG shooting. He also shot 2 triples and had 4 swipes. Backcourt partners Pratham Singh and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi each scored 11 points to backstop Amjyot, while CBA veteran Sani Sakanini paced the Palestinians with 19 markers and 12 boards.

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