2017 – wins against Japan & Hungary, 5-on-5 downfall

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Christmas is over and in a few days it will be New Years` Eve. After that? Another cycle of 365 days named 2018. As we wrap up the present cycle, 2017, this week on Swishing the Nets, we discuss how it panned out for Sri Lanka basketball.

Sri Lanka bomb Japan

As a nation, Sri Lanka have been investing heavily on the shorter format of the game, 3×3. Introduced by FIBA to widen the popularity of the sport, the shorter format will now feature in the 2020 Olympics.

Over the years, 3×3 has let the local fans taste sweet victory. While India dominates Sri Lanka in the 5on5 format, it is only in the short format that the islanders defeated the South Asian giants a couple of years ago.  

The famous win against the Asian power-house Japan came in the U18 3×3 Asia Cup. Sri Lanka went on to beat the Japanese in a one point thriller 16-15. It was the first time the Japanese were beaten by Sri Lanka in any format of the game.

Read: A message from the U18 3×3 Team to the Fans

Sri Lanka was led by Arnold Brent and was accompanied by Shivanga De Silva, Rashan Perera and Rukshan Atapattu. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka bid adieu in the semi-final stage of the tournament.

Read: Sri Lanka bids adieu to the 3×3 U18 Asia Championship

Hungary bows down to Sri Lanka

The 5th stop of the U23 3×3 Nations League was held in Colombo. Sri Lanka playing in home conditions outsmarted the mighty Hungarians in another one point thriller. Scores read 18-19.

3×3 was without a doubt the highlight of the year for both the fans and players. Participating in a host of international tournaments which includes the pinnacle competition the 3×3 World Cup, Sri Lanka played in both the senior men`s and junior women`s level. Adding to that list Sri Lanka also played in the Asia Cup in the junior level and the senior level.

The experience will help the players to move forward but the important point that Sri Lanka shouldn’t forget is consistency. Regular training, regular participation in tournaments and analyzing each tournament after participation. Sri Lanka should be consistent in performing those tasks and then it won`t be long when they will be crowned Asian champions.

Sri Lanka Air Force reclaims Senior National title after 31 Years

The 51st Senior National Basketball Tournament was played around the island which operated in three levels. With the top teams contesting each other, Level I showcased some exciting basketball.

Sri Lanka Air Force BC (SLAF) led by Ravi Dodangoda took on Colombo District Basketball Association (CDBA) in the finals. Skipper Dodangoda managed to lead his troops to an emphatic victory after three long decades. SLAF beat CDBA 80-64. The team was coach by Susil Udukumbura.

Watch: How did SL Air Force win after 31 years?

The title in the women`s category was snatched by Mercantile Basketball Association beating CDBA in the final 33-48.  

Read: Undefeated Mercantile BA reclaims the coveted Women’s Senior Nationals championship

Royal College, unbeaten champions for the year 2017

Royal College swept across the schools’ basketball arena in a royal wave, snatching three titles and remained unbeaten for 2017.

Read: 2017, Schools` Basketball, A Royal Wave

Royal College went on to play their arch rivals S. Thomas` College in their annual basketball encounter and edged them out in a nail biting two-point victory, 44-42. Secondly, it was Lyceum International School – Wattala who fell pray. Royal College snatched up the win giving them the National School Games 2017 title.

Thirdly, ending last year`s campaign as the second runners-up in ThePapare Basketball Championship, Royal College took on St. Joseph`s College in this year`s final. Royal College laid hands on the trophy that they missed last year beating the Darley Road lads, 33-48.

5on5, the Sri Lankan lament

A good beginning makes a good ending, but in this case, it’s the opposite. Sri Lanka`s struggle in the 5on5 format internationally is a problem that has been existent for quite some time. Even though Sri Lanka did perform well in the shorter version, 5on5 saw tragic losses in all the three major tournaments played.

Starting from the SABA Championship where Sri Lanka lost all their games; including the match vs Maldives which was the first time they lost to the Maldivians. The two Asia Cups where the senior women`s team and the junior team participated too ended on a similar note.

Read: SABA2017: A Tragedy dissected

The lack of a process for the longer format of the game has caused the downfall. Even though a national pool for both men`s and women`s categories were announced after the end of the Senior Nationals, it became a namesake as no practices were held and the players were dismissed badly.

Read: FIBA U16, Sri Lanka`s Positives in Numbers  

As we step into 2018, the problems remain un-answered. The administrators will have another 365 days at hand to resolve and put Sri Lanka Basketball in a better place. Fingers crossed.