Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) from Chennai registered emphatic victories to enter the quarterfinals of the all-India invitational basketball tournament for men for the J.J. Trophy at the VOC Park Corporation Sports Complex courts here on Thursday.
Indian Bank drubbed South Zone Police (Madurai) 97-56. This time around, it was a much improved performance from the team.
The Bank men, who came from behind to defeat Indian Army in the opener, played with purpose and plan.
They controlled the boards at both ends of the court, tightened the defence, upped the pace and built the lead stage by stage.
Saravanan handled the ball well and fed a hungry Mujibir Rehaman (22 pts), who worked magic at the flanks. He was ably assisted by Bhuvaneswaran.
And, with captain Thangadurai chipping in with good three pointers, Indian Bank had raced to a position of strength at the halfway mark.
It further scored freely in the last two quarters. Everybody on the court added to the score.
The Policemen tried hard as well but found the Bank men too hot to handle towards the end.
“It was team effort. Everybody played their part. Hopefully, you can expect some fireworks tomorrow,” said R. Suryasekar, its coach.
Later, strong contender IOB, with a bunch of India stars in its ranks, thrashed Coimbatore Seniors 70-41. It started brightly, extended the lead to 36-13 at the lemon break, and further harassed the host with some excellent passing and long range shooting.
Mihir Pandey, Ajith, Sivabalan and Hareesh were the men who did the bulk of the damage for the home team.
The situation remained much the same in the second half with IOB calling the shots.
The results (league): Indian Bank (Chennai) 97 (Mujibir Rehaman 22) bt South Zone Police (Madurai) 56 (Jai Ganesh 22); IOB (Chennai) 70 (Mihir Pandey 13, Ajith 14, Sivabalan 14, Hareesh 14) bt Coimbatore Seniors 41 (Balaji 11);ONGC (Dehradun) 63 (Murali Krishna 12, Trideep Rai 15) bt Coimbatore Juniors 35 (Hari Prasad 11).
On Wednesday: RCF (Punjab) 104 (Arjun Singh 21) bt ICF (Chennai) 93 (Praveen 43); Kerala Police 84 (Jomon Jose 28) bt Coimbatore Seniors 56 (Balaji 16); Cochin Customs 88 bt ICF 65.