July 3, 2016

India to host South Asia Qualifiers for 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge in Bengaluru: Full Roster and Preview

Over the past year and a half, Karnataka's capital city Bengaluru has also become the capital of Indian Basketball, as the new executive committee of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has shifted the federation's head office down south from New Delhi. Now, once again, Bengaluru is set to play center-stage and host, as the city's famous Sri Kantaveera Stadium will host the South Asian qualifiers for the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup from July 6-8. India's senior men's basketball squad, the defending champions of these qualifiers, will set out to defend their title in a round robin league format against Nepal, Bangladesh, and Maldives.

India's 12-man roster for these qualifiers has also been announced, which will be captained by Punjabi big man Amrit Pal Singh and coached by Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph. The detailed anouncements regarding this regional competition were made by BFI President K Govindaraj at a press conference held on Sunday, July 3rd at the Karnataka Olympic Association building within the Kanteerava Stadium complex in the city.

After the round-robin tournament, the team with the best record at the end of this championship will progress from the South Asian region to the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge scheduled for 9th to 18th September in Tehran, Iran. A round robin tournament is when each team will face every other team in the tournament once, and the final standings will be based on win/loss statistics. The South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) serves as a sub-zone qualifier for the FIBA Asia Challenge.

The 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge is the second step in the qualification process for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, which will be the first continental cup that will see participants from both Asia and Oceania. The FIBA Asia Cup (starting in 2017) was previously known as the FIBA Asia Championship and the FIBA Asia Challenge (starting in 2016) was previously known as the FIBA Stankovic / Asia Cup. These changes were decided on at the second meeting of the 2014-19 FIBA Asia Central Board which took place in New Delhi on 30th-31st January 2016.

India has won three of the last four editions of these qualifiers, with Bangladesh scoring a victory in 2013 when India did not participate.

Tentative Fixtures (Subject to Change)
  • July 6: India vs. Nepal - 5 PM
  • July 6: Bangladesh vs. Maldives - 6.30 PM
  • July 7: Nepal vs. Bangladesh - 5 PM
  • July 7: Maldives vs. India - 6:30 PM
  • July 8: Maldives vs. Nepal - 4:30 PM
  • July 7: India vs. Bangladesh - 6 PM

"From accommodation to the indoor playing facility, all the arrangements have been made for the players and coaches to ensure a successful conduct of the event," said Govindraj, "Additionally, entry is free because we want to encourage youngsters to come and watch the matches."

India’s training camp had begun at Kanteerava, Bengaluru on 22nd June with 30 players, and the final selections were made on 26th June. The Indian squad will feature a mixture of youth and experience, and captained by center Amrit Pal Singh, who has returend from winning Japan's NBDL championship with Toyko Excellence. Also returning to the Indian team is guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, ONGC veteran forward Yadwinder Singh, high energy point guard Talwinderjit Singh 'TJ' Sahi, and guard Arjun Singh. Other familiar faces are guard Akilan Pari, centre Rikin Pethani (both Income Tax, Chennai), Basil Philip (Central Customs & Excise, Kochi), power forward Arvind Arumugam (Vijaya Bank, Bengaluru) and center Aravind Annadurai (Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai). Promising shooter Arshpreet Bhullar (Punjab) and big man Ravi Bhardwaj (Chandigarh) will make their senior team debut at this tournament. Missing from this tournament will be India's star player Amjyot Singh, who is currently in Japan.

Team India for SABA Qualifying Round 2016
  • Arshpreet Singh Bhullar (Punjab)
  • Arjun Singh (ONGC)
  • Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (ONGC)
  • Amrit Pal Singh (ONGC) - Captain
  • Basil Philip (Customs and Central Excise)
  • Rikin Pethani (Income Tax)
  • Aravind Annadurai (IOB)
  • Arvind Arumugam (Vijaya Bank)
  • Ravi Bhardwaj (Chandigarh)
  • Akilan Pari (Income Tax)
  • TJ Sahi (Punjab)
  • Head Coach: Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph
  • Assistant Coach: CV Sunny


  1. No Narender n joginder d best guards in d country

    1. Not sure if Air Force allowed them to attend BFI camp.