As Tokyo prepares to host the Paralympic Games in 2020, all eyes were on the city as it welcomed the 2017 Mitsubishi World Challenge Cup.
The new tournament, run by the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation, saw Japan compete against Australia, Turkey and Great Britain across three days, 31st August – 2nd September.
GB opened their campaign in convincing fashion, easing past Turkey (71-37) behind stand out performances from Gregg Warburton (13 points, 5 rebounds), Gaz Choudhry (11 points, 8 rebounds), Abdi Jama (10 points) and Phillip Pratt (9 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals).
An agonising defeat to Australia (50-56), in the team’s second outing, meant GB’s hopes of a place in the Challenge Cup Final rested on victory versus Japan. Phillip Pratt scored a game-high 11 points, while Gregg Warburton and Lee Manning both added 8 points.
A combined 40 points from Terry Bywater (20 points, 6 assists) and Gaz Choudhry (20 points, 9 rebounds) were enough to power GB past Japan (72-65) and send the team into the tournament’s finale.
As was the case in their earlier meeting, GB and Australia went back and forth in the final’s early action; exchanging leads over the first quarter and a half. It was Australia, however, who would seize the game’s momentum: establishing an 11-point lead to close out the half. Unwilling to hand back the advantage, Australia used their position of strength to extend their lead. Keeping a valiant GB at arm’s length. As the game clock expired Australia came out on top, GB forced to settle for silver (54-76). Gaz Choudhry (9 points, 8 rebounds), Terry Bywater (8 points, 8 rebounds) and George Bates (8 points) proved the high spots for GB.