Bangladesh beat Maldives by 69-54 points in the last league match to clinch the South Asian Basketball Championship, their first ever international title, at the Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium on Monday.
Mithun Kumar Biswas caged highest 16 points for Bangladesh to maintain his impressive performance that he had throughout the tournament and he was duly adjudged as the most valuable player of the tournament.
His namesake Mithun Sarker chipped in with 15 points to help Bangladesh win the match and finish the tournament unbeaten.
Bangladesh earlier beat Bhutan 89-44, Nepal 81-74 and Pakistan 77-68 in their other matches and ended the competition with maximum eight points. As there was no final in the tournament, points tally determined the championship.
Bangladesh were all but champions once they beat Pakistan on Sunday as they were already favourites to win against Maldives. Things went on expectedly after Bangladesh took a 14-11 lead in the first quarter and extended their advantage to 32-20 in the second.
But the visitors turned back in the third quarter and reduced the gap although Bangladesh were still leading 52-45 before eventually finishing on 69-54.
‘Our players were a little tired after playing such an intense match against Pakistan yesterday (Sunday). They could not give their best but won the match using their sense,’ said Bangladesh team coach Wasif Ali.
‘I told my players to handle the opponents carefully and to utilise our advantage of better height as they were frequently beating us with speed,’ Wasif added.
This is the first international title victory for Bangladesh, who earlier finished runners-up in the last edition of the South Asian Basketball Championship in Assam in 2002 for their best previous success.
Pakistan, who outplayed Bhutan 79-63 in their last match, finished second while Nepal came third.
-With New Age input