In their last first-round game in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the Indian men's basketball team was defeated 79-63 by the Philippines on Sunday in Manila. India lost all four of its games in Group A, which meant that they finished the first round without a single victory.
In addition to losing to New Zealand 101-46 and 95-60, the Indian team also fell to the Philippines 88-64 in the rematch. India still advanced to the second round since South Korea, the fourth country in Group A, was eliminated due to an epidemic of COVID-19 in their camp. Twelve teams from Asia and Oceania altogether have made it through to the second stage of the qualifications, which begin in August.
At the Mall of Asia Arena, India's Muin Bek Hafeez led the team in scoring with 13 points against the world No. 34 Philippines, while Sahaij Pratap Singh and Arvind Kumar Krishnan both chipped in with 12. However, India's poor defence allowed the Philippines to prevail. India, which is now rated 82nd in the world, fell behind early on as the hosts took an early lead of 21-10 thanks in large part to Dwight Ramos' outstanding performance.
The Philippines scored 23 more points in the second session to increase their advantage to 45-24 at the intermission as the visitors increased their offensive output but continued to struggle defensively. Even though the Philippines led by more than 20 points at the end of the third quarter, India fought back and reduced the deficit to 14 points in the fourth. But with only two minutes left in the game, India was unable to narrow the difference and lost valiantly.