· Winning team from these South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Qualifiers is through to the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 to be held in Iran later this September.
· Among participating SABA teams, India are defending champions and favourites. Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives are the other teams in the fray.
· The qualifying round will be played in a round robin league format.
· Indian side will see the return of Punjab players Amritpal Singh (centre) and Talwinderjit Singh (point guard), apart from other familiar and fresh faces.
· India’s first match will be against Nepal on July 6th
· This is the 5th edition of SABA, but the first to be held as a preliminary qualifier to FIBA’s maiden Continental Cup in 2017 (called FIBA Asia Cup) that will feature teams from both Asia & Oceania regions.
· The SABA qualifiers is returning to Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru for the 2nd straight year. The last edition (i.e. 4th SABA Championship) saw India being crowned champs for the 3rd time.
Bengaluru, 3rd July, 2016: The South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Zone Qualifying Round of the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 will be held from 6th to 8th July, 2016 at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in India’s IT city of Bengaluru. The three-day competition will conclude on the 8th and is being played on a round robin league format. Four South Asian teams — defending champions & hosts India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the island nation of Maldives are in the fray.
The detailed announcements regarding this regional competition were made by BFI President Shri K Govindaraj at a press conference held earlier today at the Karnataka Olympic Association building within the Kanteerava Stadium complex in the city.
“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. Additionally, entry is free because we want to encourage youngsters to come and watch the matches,” said Mr Govindaraj.
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 experienced Indian charge will be captained by centre Amritpal Singh, returning from winning the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL) Championship with Toyko Excellence in Japan. Also returning to the Indian team is guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, ONGC veteran forward Yadwinder Singh, high energy point guard Talwinderjit Singh, and aguard 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 centre Aravind Annadurai (Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai).
Among senior team debutants are promising outside shooter, the talented young Arshpreet Bhullar (Punjab) and power forward/centre Ravi Bhardwaj (Chandigarh). Both will be hoping for valuable minutes.
As can be gleaned from past SABA editions (see below), the Indian men’s team, with a blend of youth and experience, will start off yet again as strong favourites. The key to its showing will continue to be its superior size advantage when compared to its traditionally smaller South Asian opponent teams.
INDIAN SQUAD FOR THE SABA Qualifying Round 2016
Place of Birth
(City & State)
Date of Birth (dd/mm/yy)
(ft & inches)
190 (6’ 2’’)
189 (6’ 2’’)
195 (6’ 3’’)
207 (6’ 7’’)
Cental Customs & Excise
198 (6’ 4’’)
203 (6’ 6””)
Indian Overseas Bank
200 (6’ 5””)
197 (6’ 4””)
207 (6’ 7””)
180 (5’ 9’’)
182 (5’ 9’’)
*PG - Point Guard / Feeder, G - Guard, F - Forward, G/F - Wing, PF - Power Forward, C - Centre, PF/C - Pivot
13) Coaches: Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph (Head Coach) and CV Sunny (Assistant Coach)
About the SABA Qualifiers 2016
Tentative Fixtures (Subject to Change)
July 06· India vs Nepal 05.00 PM
· Bangladesh vs Maldives 06.30 PM
July 07· Nepal vs Bangladesh 05.00 PM
· Maldives vs India 06.30 PM
July 08· Maldives vs Nepal 04.30 PM
· India vs Bangladesh 06.00 PM
The tournament is played on a round robin format and the team with the best record at the end of this championship will progress from the South Asian region to the 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. SABA serves as a sub-zone qualifier for the FIBA Asia Challenge.
Previous Editions / Winners:
2012: Assam: 1st India, 2nd Bangladesh
2013: Dhaka: 1st Bangladesh 2nd Pakistan (India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka did not participate)
2014: Kathmandu: 1st India 2nd Bangladesh
2015: Bengaluru: 1st India, 2nd Sri Lanka
Qualification for 2017 FIBA Asia Cup
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.
About Basketball Federation of India
The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information at www.basketballfederationindia.org.