ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Two of the contenders in Group C of the Prelim Round at the 22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship starting in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) on Friday are making a comeback to the event after a long gap. Another – hosts Mongolia – make their debut appearance. Does that make the task of Chinese Taipei, who ended a decade-long medal drought when they won the bronze medal at the 21st FIBA Asia Championship at Sana’A (Yemen) in 2010? Not sure if that question can be answered in the affirmative given the tenacity of the other three.
GCC’s Bahrain are back in the FIBA Asia U18 Championship fold after 30 years and Indonesia qualified from the SEABA U18 Championship after 17 years. But the coaches of both teams have made it amply clear that they are not here to merely make the numbers.
“This is the first step towards putting Bahrain on the development path,” says coach Aqeel Issa Milad, with the experience of having coached Bahrain Premier Division team Al Ahli.
“We are here to give our best and make a fight out of it. And we are not pressurized by the expectations of results,” he added.
Indonesia’s coach Nath Canson, a Filipino by origin, didn’t differ much.
“The Indonesian national team U-18 is a great team selection. It has all the ingredients that a coach needed to make this team a lot better than now. Given 100% support from Perbasi and the best preparations that the team needs, this team will definitely go far,” he said.
Given that Mongolia will carry the hopes and the advantage of playing at home, Chinese Taipei’s task is well cut out.
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Group D Preview