Nepal finish third

KATHMANDU: Nepal finished third in the fourth edition of the South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore, India on Sunday.

Nepal were tied with Bangladesh and the Maldives on four points but they finished on top among the three teams because of fewer loss margins against opponents in their five matches. Defending champions India finished unbeaten and accumulated 10 points from five matches to win the championship with 10 points, while Sri Lanka were second with eight points. The Maldives came fourth, while Bangladesh ended up fifth.

In the final-round, Nepal faced a 76-68 defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka. Nepal took 23-18 lead in first quarter before Sri Lanka bounced back and dominated the remaining periods. Nepal lost the remaining quarters 16-18, 15-22 and 14-18. Ashim Shrestha top scored for Nepal with 13 points, while Ayush Singh netted 12.

Nepal, who opened the championship with a 90-37 loss against hosts India, beat Bhutan 72-58 and registered a 84-73 win over Bangladesh before going down 72-68 against Maldives. Nepal Basketball Association has announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for the team after their impressive win against Bangladesh. Nepal had finished fourth in the third edition of the championship held in Kathmandu last year.

The Nepali team, led by Sadish Pradhan, included Ayush Singh, Ajay Kusuwa, Binod Maharjan, Binod Shrestha, Rajiv Joshi, Sanjay Byanjankar, Bikram Joshi, Subrot Rajopadhya, Ashim Shrestha, Yukta Bhakta Mathema and Bijay Burja. Dinesh Nakarmi was the team coach, while Rabindraman Maharjan was his assistant and Bikash Shahi was the team manager.