Home favourite Akilan came up with a mighty display in the last quarter as Income Tax Recreation Club (Chennai) rallied from behind to defeat South Central Railway (Secunderabad) 73-63 in a men’s league match of the 48th all-India basketball tournament for the PSG Trophy at the PSG Tech indoor courts, here on Friday.
The stunning victory raised the hopes for the team for a place in the last four, while it effectively shut the door on its opponent.
It was the SCR men who held the centrestage from the start, purely due to the efforts of S.T. Murali Krishna (28 points). The Indian Railways’ fleet-footed star was all over the court. Anything he touched turned into sure points for the team. And, SCR prospered minute after minute.
Dhiraj Shetty (19), Arun Chandra Doss and Ram Kumar played their role to perfection for the Chennai unit and that helped the team to stay in close quarters (32-35) at half-time. The third session clearly belonged to SCR. It upped the pace and raced to a healthy 51-43 lead going into the final period. At this juncture,
Akilan rocked like never before. With the crowd rooting his every move, the youngster worked magic for the team. He shattered the SCR defence time and again to reach the hoop with ease. He scored four in a row to reduce the lead margin.
With Dhiraj chipping in, Income Tax shot into lead (56-55) for the first time in the match. Both Akilan and Dhiraj continued to find gaping holes in the SCR defence. SCR did go flat out in the final minutes, but Income Tax kept its cool to seal the match much to the joy of the crowd.
The SCR women, however, did not disappoint. It held its nerve to oust a fighting South Western Railway (Hubli) 64-60 in the 11th all-India tournament for the CRI Pumps Trophy. Anusha Anto (28) did the bulk of the scoring for the winner.
The result: League: Men: Income Tax RC (Chennai) 73 (Dhiraj Shetty 19, Ram Kumar 14) bt SCR (Secunderabad) 63 (S.T. Murali Krishna 28).
Women: SCR (Secunderabad) 64 (Anusha Anto 28, Mandameshram 17) bt SWR (Hubli) 60 (L.S. Savitha 19).
Keywords: 48th all-India basketball tournament