Hong Kong's invitational basketball tournament - which featured both international and club teams - concluded on Sunday December 18, 2016 with yet another gold medal win for the Southern California Fukienese Association (SCFA) from the USA at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Team India played at a high level through the course of the week-long tournament and finished with a bronze medal, their best-ever finish.
India, who sent out a star-studded squad to Hong Kong for this tournament, defeated Hong Kong's Eastern Long Lions on Sunday 90-60 to finish at third place. Four Indian players finished in double digits, led by Amrit Pal Singh (24), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (23), and Rikin Pethani (16). After India led just 33-30 at halftime, a 32-19 run in the third period turned out to be the decisive period as India eventually raced to a blowout victory. Captain Bhriguvanshi was named the Best Shooter in the tournament.
Head Coached by Bhaskar Sappaniambalam, the Indian team saw the return of established stars Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (captain), Amrit Pal Singh, Pratham Singh, Yadwinder Singh, Rikin Pethani, Arvind Arumugam, Aravind Annadurai, Akilan Pari and Prasanna Venkatesh. Chandigarh’s 24-year-old centre Ravi Bhardwaj who made his international debut earlier this year, retained his place in the side. Junior India captain Baladhaneshwar Poiyamozhi and Karnataka’s Anil Kumar Gowda, made their senior India debuts.
The next night, India were once again locked in a close combat against Thailand, leading 33-32 at halftime. But a massive 27-7 run in the third created a separation necessary to help India cruise to a 86-65 win. Bhriguvanshi (29) and Amrit Pal (19) were once again India's primary options on offense. Nakorn Jaisanuk scored 17 for Thailand.
India qualified for the Semi-Final, but their ambitions for the gold were cut short in a close loss in their semi against eventual winners SCFA. It was one of the best games of the tournament, as both teams battled back and forth and featured a rich armory on talents on each side of the floor. India enjoyed a six point lead at the end of the first quarter before SCFA came fighting back to trail 45-46 at halftime. The third quarter saw India move ahead again, but a clutch 25-16 run by SCFA in the fourth handed India a loss, 93-89. The loss overshadowed a huge performance by Bhriguvanshi (35) and crucial supporting roles played by Rikin Pethani (21) and Amrit Pal (17). Taylor Statham (26) and Donald Lee (21) did most of the damage for the American side.
A total of nine teams took part in this tournament, which was in its 21st edition.