TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): The Ota City just off the bustling Japanese capital is a quiet and tranquil suburb, certainly, compared to the flurry of Tokyo. The Ota City is also renowned for its manufacturing unit that produces some of the most endurable all-terrain automobiles. The next few days in Ota City Gymnasium will be challenging the first trait of the city but more adhering to the second.
Yes, the 4th FIBA Asia Cup that begins on Friday – what with an ensemble of top 10 National Teams bracing up to show their wares – will undoubtedly inject a dose of adrenaline into the cityzens of Ota, but there will be an undercurrent of long term prospects that will emphasize all those performances.
Who win each game in the next few days will certainly matter, but what will matter more is how they win it. None of the coaches here have brought a jigsaw for success, but all of them are looking to find the suitable, if not perfect, pieces to fit their jigsaws for the 27th FIBA Asia Championship next year.
The winners of the 4th FIBA Asia Cup will automatically qualify for the 27th FIBA Asia Championship and thus will gain a headstart in their preparations for the big event, which in turn will qualify three teams to represent FIBA Asia in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. And three teams that follow will earn additional berths for their respective FIBA Asia Sub Zones in the qualifying race to the 27th FIBA Asia Championship.
But there ends the materialistic incentive of the event. The intrinsic value of the event will be measured, and reflected, in how the teams learn from their mistakes when they prepare next year. Yes, the 4th FIBA Asia Cup will allow teams to make mistakes. But all teams will look to turning those mistakes into valuable lessons for the future.
In short, if at all there is any recipe for success in sport, the 4th FIBA Asia Cup is just the tasting session for those recipes.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia
Photo: Milad Payami / FIBA Asia