India coasted past Nepal 81-53 in their opening South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) qualifying tournament match, at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
The result was never in doubt, with the host dominating proceedings from tip-off. A 23-4 lead was gained by the end of the first-quarter, with the Indian starting-five running amok. Skipper Amrinder Singh was especially impressive, using his size to good effect.
Just a few minutes in, point guard Akhilan Pari streaked past his marker and passed the ball to Amrinder. The Punjab centre then came charging into the lane, and rose miles above Nepal’s Sadhish Pradhan to finish with an authoritative slam dunk.
Stalwart Vishesh Briguvanshi also joined in, converting a few athletic left-handed layups.
The Indians had sprinted to a 17-0 advantage in the first four minutes, and it took a neat baseline jump-shot from Pradhan for Nepal to get on the scoreboard. Pradhan, apart from the one play where he was quashed by Amrinder, showed tremendous heart on the offensive end.
India head coach P.J. Sebastian took out his starting five when the second-quarter began, to give his fringe players some useful match-practice. Nepal did close the gap from here on, but could do little to prevent a defeat.
The results: India 81 (Vishesh Briguvanshi 11, Amritpal Singh 10, Ashpreet Bhullar 10) bt Nepal 53 (Sadish Pradhan 13, L. Sonam 12, S. Ashim 12); Maldives 68 (Ahmed Rashad 14, Zabeer Ahmed 14) bt Bangladesh 50 (Ata-ur Rahman 10).