September 19, 2017

ONGC to represent India at 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in China: Roster, Schedule, and Preview


Asia's premier club basketball tournament - the FIBA Asia Champions Cup - will return this year for to be held in Chenzhou, China, from September 22-30, 2017. This is the second consecutive year that Chenzhou will host this tournament. Ten of the top club teams from different countries in Asia will take part in this championship. All matches will be held in the city's Chenzhou Sports Center.

China's CBA squad Kashgar - otherwise known as the Xinjiang Flying Tigers - will return to the tournament to defend their title from last year. Once again, India will be represented by Dehradun's squad ONGC, who won their fifth-straight title at the Federation Cup earlier this year. Despite featuring some top Indian talent, ONGC were ousted from the Preliminary Round stage without a win last year and finished tied for 9/10th place in the ten-team fray. ONGC have been drawn in the tournament's Group B.

FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017 Groups
  • Group A: BC Astana (Kazakhstan), Mono Vampire Basketball Club (Thailand), Petrochimi (Iran), Sareyyet Ramallah (Palestine), Chooks-To-Go (Philippines).
  • Group B: Shabab Al Ahli (Dubai), ONGC (India), Al Riyadi (Lebanon), Dacin Tigers (Chinese Taipei), China Kashgar (China).

ONGC have finalised their roster, coached by their former star and former India captain Trideep Rai. The team is set to have serious cause for concern this year: their marquee talent Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, recovering from a serious knee injury from the BRICS Games earlier this year, hurt himself again at the '3x3 Road to Mexico' basketball event in Gurugram a few days ago. Big man Yadwinder Singh is back in action after an injury, while guard Arjun Singh will be another important player to watch. The squad's superstar big man - Amritpal Singh - has left the team to join the Sydney Kings of Australia's NBL.

ONGC roster for FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017
  • Abhishek Rai
  • Mohit Bhandari
  • Vinay Dabas
  • Anoop Mukkanniyil
  • Riyazuddin
  • Arjun Singh
  • Vishesh Bhriguvanshi
  • Muralikrishna Ravindran
  • Udai Bhan Singh Rawat
  • Yadwinder Singh
  • Head Coach: Trideep Rai
  • Assistant Coach: Dinesh Kumar

The tournament will be held in league-cum-knockout format, with the top four teams of each group of five qualifying for the quarter-final stage after the preliminary round of round-robin games.

ONGC's Preliminary Round schedule - all timings IST
  • September 22 - Dacin Tigers vs. ONGC - 12 PM
  • September 24 - ONGC vs. China Kashgar - 5 PM
  • September 25 - Al Riyadi vs. ONGC - 7:15 PM
  • September 26 - ONGC vs. Shabab Al Ahli - 12 PM

Without Amritpal and with a Bhriguvanshi not at full strength, ONGC will find it difficult to compete against the more stacked squads from Chinese Taipei, China, and Lebanon. Their best chance at a victory, and a potential quarter-final spot, could be in their final game against Dubai's Shabab Al Ahli.

China Kashgar will once again be favourites to win gold this year, while Lebanon's Al Riyadi and Iran's Petrochimi could both pose serious threats to their crown.

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