Mar Baselios Engineering College, Thiruvananthapuram ended Mar Ivanios College's long rein as the Kerala University basketball champion. Mar Ivanios College was the undisputed champions for the last18 years during which no college came close to dethroning them. But Mar Baselios did the unthinkable in the Kerala University inter-collegiate tournament which was hosted by Mar Ivanios College in the last week of October.

The scoreline 74-56 in the final underlined, Mar Baselios' supremacy over its rival. Ashin Xavier Philip (20 points) and Amit Sebastian (18) played exceedingly well for Baselios in the final. Both Ashin and Amit were prolific for Mar Baselios in the whole tournament.

The turnaround in Baselios' fortune could be attributed to the appointment of Francis Assisi as full time coach. Assisi, a former KSEB player, was instrumental in moulding the team into a good fighting unit.

The team had an outstanding player in Ashin Xavier Philip a former junior India and current State player.

Assisi built the team around Ashin with Amit Sebastian, Sarath Mohan and Nithin George playing the supporting cast to perfection.

The team was further strengthened by the addition of V.K. Ajith and Srikanth Sasidharan who joined the college this academic year.

First signs

The first signs of change came in the final of a tournament organised by St. Mary's Sports and Arts Club at Vettucadu early last month where Mar Baselios crushed Mar Ivanios by a big margin to win the title. Mar Baselios continued its good run by reaching the semifinal of the Mahindra NBA challenge tournament where it lost to Kerala Police by a slender margin.

Mar Baselios carried that form into the Kerala University tournament and ended the season on a high note by winning the title.

Joji Varghese, the HOD physical education, said that the win would not have been possible without the support extended by the college management.

“The management gave us permission to admit outstanding players and they are given merit scholarship. The teachers are also very helpful. They conduct special lab sessions for those players who miss the lab due to their schedule,” Joji said.

Mar Baselios won an unprecedented 10 titles in all-Kerala professional colleges tournaments last year.

The players donated their hard earned prize money of Rs 1 lakh rupees to the Malankara Catholic Church's housing scheme ‘Home for everyone' which was appreciated by all.

After proving that they could play without comprising on their studies the players did their bit for the society too.