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Indian cagers Amjyot, Amritpal to play in Japan

New Delhi: Indian cagers Amjyot Singh Gill and Amritpal Singh have secured professional contracts with Tokyo Excellence, a team in the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) of Japan.

After putting up impressive performances in the BJ Challenge Summer League from June to August playing for the Hyogo Impulse team, the Punjab products have bagged one-year contracts in the development league for Japan's National Basketball League. The NBDL was established in 2013 as a second-tier league below the National Basketball League. Tokyo Excellence has been the team with the best record in NBDL's brief history, having won both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 championships.

Based in Itabashi in the Tokyo metropolis, the team's vision is to increase the interest of its citizens in sports, energise the people of the Itabashi area, and to strengthen the people's passion and pride towards Itabashi. The team has active participation in hometown activities and events, including visits to schools and mentoring young basketball teams.

After creating history earlier in the year by becoming the first ever Indians to play professional basketball in Japan, Amjyot, a 6-foot-9 inch forward, and the 7-foot centre Amritpal have gone one step further from the BJ Challenge Summer League into a more competitive season-long NBDL. The period of their contracts is from September 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

Expressing their happiness over the new opportunity, Amjyot and Amritpal said that they felt blessed and will look to do their best to make India proud. The young cagers have been mainstays of the Indian men's national team over the past two years, leading them to the historic, first ever victory over China in 2014 during the 4th FIBA Asia Cup held in Wuhan, China.

Having learnt the fundamentals of the game at Ludhiana Basketball Academy under late coach S Subramaniam, the duo were quickly developed their game and became vital to the Indian national team's success under former coach Scott Flemming.

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