Defending men’s champion Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (Uttarakhand) entered the final of the 28th Federation Cup basketball, after it defeated Army Red (Services) in a fiercely fought semifinal 69-54.
Vishesh Bhrugavanshi’s calmness amidst crisis and ability to induce fouls with tricky manoeuvring under the offensive board proved useful for the winner after the halfway mark.
Trideep Rai moved wide for points at critical junctures and Yadwinder Singh’s physical presence proved decisive in the final analysis.
Army Red created scoring opportunities through playmaker Sambhaji Kadam, but the pressure gradually built up as teammates driving-in for layups were off target.
The knockout tie between two quality sides exploded into action on and off the ball in the third quarter, amidst all-out aggression.
Amritpal Singh suffered a twisted ankle, but carried on gamely.
The crowd at the YMCA International Centre were treated to a delightful and brutal version of basketball as action under both boards between tall men turned physical.
ONGC’s varied attacking ability gave it the edge.
Bhrugavanshi top-scored with 20 points and harassed the defence with feints and ball skills. Trideep (17) and Yadwinder (11) lent their weight for ONGC. Army playmaker Sambhaji waded through crowded defences in the hunt for points, managing 10. Gopal Ram and Jairam Jat muscled in with 15 and 11 points respectively.
Indian Overseas Bank (Tamil Nadu) held its nerve in the second semifinal, winning a hard-fought tie 61-58 against Border Security Force (Punjab), the latter’s first loss in the event after topping the pool in the league phase.
Delhi was no match for a rampaging Maharashtra in the women’s semifinal, trailing 23-8 in the first quarter and playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Manisha Dange (20) scored on counters while Shirin Limaye (19) focused on defensive duties, leaving Renu Mourya (17) free to use her creative skills.
Maharashtra’s toughest test will come in Thursday’s final against Chhattisgarh.
The latter wore down Kerala’s resistance 80-57 with an all-round display. Poonam Chaturvedi helped herself to 20 points without exerting herself.
The results: Semifinals: Men: ONGC (Uttarakhand) 69 (Vishesh Brughavanshi 20, Trideep Rai 17, Yadwinder Singh 11) bt Army Red 54 (Gopal Ram 15, Jairam Jat 11, Sambhaji Kadam 10).
IOB (Tamil Nadu) 61 (Sivabalan 15, Prasanna 11, Amjyot Singh 10) bt BSF (Punjab) 58 (Davinder Hooda 24, Vinod Kumar 14).
Women: Maharashtra 89 (Manisha Dange 20, Shirin Limaye 19, Renu Mourya 17) bt Delhi 49 (Madhu Kumari 15, Neha Joshi 11).
Chhattisgarh 80 (Poonam Chaturvedi 20, Anju Lakra 20, Pushpa 14) bt Kerala 57 (Jeena 22, Stephy 11).
This article has been edited to incorporate the following correction:
The report gave the full form of ONGC as Oil & Natural Gas Commission. It is Oil & Natural Gas Corporation.