Bhutan has made history at the Five Nation Championship as the senior men’s national basketball team clinched Bhutan’s first international trophy at the expense of Bangladesh. The match was played last night. In a nerve-racking final, Bhutan came from behind late into the match to secure a memorable victory in the Maldives. The match was watched by thousands of Bhutanese supporters back home.
In a thrilling encounter, Bhutan hit the ground running, opening the scoring in the first quarter. The match intensified with the teams going neck and neck.
In the second quarter, Bhutan’s speed and well-executed passes helped them secure a 10-point lead. Bhutan maintained their dominance in the third quarter, controlling the game’s tempo at both ends of the court.
However, Bangladesh stepped up their offensive game in the fourth quarter, capitalising on turnovers and exploiting Bhutan’s foul troubles. With 21 seconds remaining, Bhutan’s lead was cut down to one point. Bangladesh then capitalised on a foul leading the game 60-59 with only 11 seconds remaining on the clock. With time virtually over, Bhutan scored a decisive lay-up and a free throw with just a second left, sealing the victory by two points.
“It feels awesome, it feels wonderful. It is a feeling I cannot describe. I think I will take around a week to let this feeling sink in. We didn’t give up. Even in the dying seconds when they took the lead, we were saying we need to give it our all; this is a lifetime opportunity. So we didn’t give up. That’s the greatest thing about my team. We don’t give up easily. Easily, five to six years, the same team can go on. I think it is the start of something amazing,” said Rinchen Dorji, Captain.
Meanwhile, the historic moment was relished with pride and delight throughout the country as the people back home watched the nail-biting match live.
“I didn’t even think Bhutan would win. Since I play basketball too, the match made me very anxious. But it was fun to watch it with my family,” said Ugyen Tobgay, a basketball fan.
“I watched the basketball match yesterday with my family. I was very happy as I love basketball,” said Sonam Thinley Jamtsho, another basketball fan.
“It was surprising to see Bhutan win yesterday. I am glad Bhutan won. It made me like basketball even more. I want to make a living playing basketball when I grow up,” said Dorji T Dendup.
“I thought Bhutan would lose in the third quarter. And then I thought Bhutan might win in the fourth quarter. The match was very exciting. Even my parents were jumping with joy,” said Sonam Choki.
The team will arrive in the country tomorrow. After their arrival, the team will take the trophy to the Basketball Federation of Bhutan’s court in Thimphu where a celebration will be held.