It was expected to be a cracker of a contest. But the contest between Uttarakhand’s ONGC and Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai failed to live up to it. The two best teams in Men’s Group B, nay the tournament itself, turned into a low-scoring affair with ONGC winning 58-51 and booking a slot in the semifinals of the 27th Federation Cup basketball championship for seniors here on Friday.
There were some brilliant interceptions, a couple of telling steals and some fantastic fakes. But there were misses galore too. It was only for the first 10 minutes that the Chennai team held the upper hand. Mihir Pandey was his usual self finding the hoop from far and near. But both Rikhin Pethani and Raghuram just could not get going on this day and time and again surrendered the ball.
Trideep Rai and Mohit Bhandari set the tone early on though Desraj and Yadwinder Singh missed with their long shots but once Vishesh Bhruguvanshi found his rhythm ONGC nosed ahead and enjoyed a slight advantage throughout the match before Bhruguvanshi showed his class in the dying minutes.
ONGC with this — its third straight victory — tops group B and will in all likelihood be joined by IOB in the semifinals from this group while Indian Air Force, which too has an unbeaten streak in Group A, in all probability will be joined by reigning champion Punjab Police in the round of four.
Easy for TN
Tamil Nadu women after a scrappy first quarter changed strategy switching to player to player marking to throttle Maharashtra into submission with a convincing 72-43 win.
Down 14-17 after the first quarter, TN coach P. Ramalingam adopted the tight marking full court press and it worked to good effect as Maharashtra girls repeatedly fumbled, Smruthi Radhakrishnan made a fight of it till the end of the second quarter but with Manisha Dange and Renu Mourya both having an off day, TN simply cantered away in the third and fourth quarters to win fluently.
In the women’s semifinals, South East Central Railway (Bilaspur) will play Maharashtra while Tamil Nadu will take on Kerala. In the men’s semifinals, ONGC takes on winners of Punjab Police and Central Excise & Customs (Kochi) and in the second match IOB Chennai takes on Indian Air Force.
The semifnals are slated to commence at 1 p.m.
Men: Punjab Police 72 (Ranbir singh 22, Amritpal Singh 15, Harminder Singh 10) bt Vijaya Bank 61 (Arvind 17, Srinivas Naik 17, Basavraj 14); IAF 92 (Joginder Singh 21, Praveen Kumar 21) bt Central Excise & Customs, Kochi 82 (Basil Philip 25, Evbrick 21, Manoj 14); ONGC, Uttarkhand 58 (Vishesh Brugavanshi 14, Yadwinder Singh 13, Tridip Rai 11) bt IOB, Chennai 51 (Mihir Pandey 18); SC Railway 87 (Naveen Kumar 33) bt Jind District (Haryana) 72 (Deepak Rathi 26, Praveen Kumar 25); Captains Club, Delhi 82 (Praveen 34, Vinay Kaushik 23) bt Vijaya Bank, Bangalore 72 (Arvind 25, Anil Kumar 18, Roby Thomas 14).
Women: Kerala 66 (Stephy Nixon 20, Jina 19, Poojamol 11) bt Delhi 42 (Raspreet 29); South East Central Railway 73 (Pushpa 27, Bharti 16, Aruna 14) bt Karnataka 55 (Savitha 13, Sagarika 12); Tamil Nadu 72 (M. Adhiri 19, P Anitha 16, R Ptriyadarshini 13) bt Maharashtra 43 (Smruthi Radhakrishnan 13, Manisha Dange 9); SEC Railway 64 (Pushpa 14, Akansha 13, Bharathi 12) bt Delhi 38.
Thursday night: Women: Delhi 82 (Raspreet Sidhu 24, Madhu Kumari 21) bt Karnataka 77 (Navnitha 23, Savitha 16, Roshini 16).