Bangladesh beats Maldives to win South Asian basketball title

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Bangladesh clinched the South Asian Basketball Association championship, defeating the Maldives by 69- 54 in the final match in capital Dhaka's Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium Monday evening.

Bangladeshi men's team finished the first half with a 32-20 lead.

Mithun Sarkar was the highest scorer with 16 points and Mithun Biswas extended support to him with 13 points. Jabir, 15, and Afsan, 12, were the leading scorers for the Maldives.

The hosts, who beat Pakistan by 77-68 in Sunday's semifinals, finished unbeaten in the second edition of the SABA championship which was held over decade after its maiden edition. Other two teams in the championship were Bhutan and Nepal.

Bhutan was named as the best disciplined team of the championship, which was played under the round-and-robin format.

Biswas of Bangladesh was named as the most valuable player of the tournament while Jilal of the Maldives was adjudged the best player of the tournament.

FIBA-ASIA president Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani was present as the chief guest on the concluding day of the tournament and distributed the prizes.

Bangladeshi cellphone company Citycell, which has been sponsoring basketball events in the South Asian country for the last three years, sponsored the five-day championship which begun on Jan. 17.

Due to preoccupations, sources said, three other countries of the region -- India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan -- declined to participate in the meet.

The South Asian Basketball Association (SABA), a body of eight South Asian countries, arranged the 2nd version of the meet after the maiden tournament held in the Indian state of Assam in 2002.

In the first edition, the hosts India drubbed Bangladesh 139:34 to win the title. Endi

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