ONGC (Uttarakhand) in the men’s category and Tamil Nadu in the women’s section emerged champions at the 27th Federation Cup basketball championship at the Sree Kanteerva indoor stadium here on Sunday.

ONGC (Uttarakhand) toyed and teased Indian Overseas Bank (Chennai) for a 72-46 verdict and regain the trophy which it last won in 2009, while the Tamil Nadu women huffed and puffed to ward off Maharashtra’s challenge to win 63-62 and take the trophy.

One-sided contest

The men’s final was a one-sided contest from the beginning. With the IOB shooters hitting the rim of the basket repeatedly there was little to choose from. Mihir Pandey and Pratam Singh just could not match the shooting form of ONGC hoopsters Vishesh Bhruguvanshi and Trideep Rai, who excelled with some telling three-point conversions.

The bankmen surrendered the initiative in the first quarter itself.

With Raghuram and Mihir managing a few shots on target one felt that the game would pick up momentum but that was not to be. Riyazuddin came off the bench to sink a few long rangers and with Murali Krishnan effective with his offensive board play and converting the free-throws, the Uttarakhand side was up and away.

Midway through the third quarter with the dice well in ONGC favour, IOB virtually threw in the towel, resulting in a mockery of the final 10 minutes which was played at walking pace. IOB did bridge the leeway but the contest was over already.

The Tamil Nadu girls, on the other hand, made heavy weather of its victory. After a disgraceful first quarter which Maharashtra ran away with, setting a furious pace, to lead 21-12, one could only sympathise with the TN side.

But the match soon changed on its head. Adhirai and Anitha, found their rhythm to a nicety to come up with some spectacular long shots. The tall Apoorva Muralinath did well under the defensive boards while Priyadarshini converted well at the other end and TN nosed ahead at 28-27 just four minutes and 26 seconds before half-time.

Changing ends with a handy 38-31 advantage, Tamil Nadu built on the lead with Anitha finding the net with her impeccable style and went into the final quarter with a 55-48 lead.

Brave fight

This was when the Maharashtra girls decided to put up a brave fight and almost repeated their act when they defeated SEC Railway in the semifinals on Saturday.

However, this time, despite Shirin Limaye coming good and Manisha Dange too finding the basket it was Renu Mourya once again who put her team 62-61 ahead going into the last minute.

But Priyadarshini’s fine under-the-board effort found the hoop much to the joy of her teammates to settle the issue in favour of Tamil Nadu.

Vishesh Bhruguvanshi of ONGC and P. Anitha of Tamil Nadu were adjudged the ‘best players’ in the men’s and women’s sections, respectively.

The results:

Men: Final: ONGC 72 (Vishesh Bhrughuvanshi 18, Murali Krishnan 17, Trideep Rai 17, Yadvinder Singh 12) bt IOB (Chennai) 46 (Mihir Pandey 16, M.A. Raghuram 10).

Third place: Punjab Police 86 (Amritpal Singh 25, Ranbir Singh 25, Amarinder Singh 12, Harminder Singh 11) bt IAF 66 (Narender Grewal 16, Joginder Singh 12, Shivraj Singh 11, Praveen Kumar 10).

Women: Final: Tamil Nadu 63 (P. Anitha 22, R. Priyadarshini 17, M. Adhirai 10) bt Maharashtra 62 (Manisha Dange 17, Shirin Limaye 14, Smriti Radhakrishnan 12).

Third place: Kerala 88 (P.S. Jina 25, P.R. Surya 23, P. Lijimol 22) bt SEC Railway 66 (M. Pushpa 18, Seema Singh 13, N. Bharathi 13, Kavitha 13).

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