PUNE: Tamil Nadu's S. Robinson, a highly proficient player, did not live up to his reputation and let his team down as Indian Railways, which struggled initially, entered the final in the men's section at the 56th edition of the Senior national basketball championship here.
TN, which won five National titles on the trot before losing in the semifinals last year, began well. But it let the advantage slip and by the time it found its momentum the match was out its grasp.
Robinson fumbled and fumed. He missed no less than a dozen baskets under the boards and when he finally converted a loop in the air, there were a few who still envisaged some hope.
But at 84-85 and just 46 seconds remaining a foul committed on Riyazuddin saw him convert both. When Tridip Roy, the pick of the shooters in this championship, converted from a zero angle, Railways was well and truly home. Tridip then basketed another for the final nail in the coffin. Railways will now take on Punjab in the final on Wednesday.
Earlier, Punjab shut the door on Services which was without its star player Shambaji Kadam, who limped off the field with a hamstring injury.
Maharashtra men claimed the Plate Trophy, coming through in the lower knock-out stage with a 98-83 win over Orissa while in the women's section Karnataka took the honours defeating Haryana 100-56.
The results: Men: Semifinals: Punjab 100 (Jasjot Singh 25, Talwinder 23, Jagdeep Singh 18) bt Services 86 (Phool Singh 21, Pawandeep Singh 21, Vipin Kumar 22); Railways 92 (Tridip Rai 32, Riyazuddin 29) bt TN 84 (S. Robinson 22, Shiv Kumar 13).
Plate final: Maharashtra 98 (Amit Ambedkar 31, Lakwinder 32, Ashish Dubey 10) bt Orissa 83 (Ashok Kumar Naik 28, Sanjib Behera 19, Shashikant Naik 16).
Women: Semifinals: Delhi 92 (Sheeba Maggon 36, Savitha 20) bt Chhattisgarh 55 (Kawaljeet Kaur 20, Navneet Kaur 16); Railways 143 (Sofi Sam 22, P. Anita 17, Bharati Netam 13) bt Kerala 54 (Sonia Joseph 13).
Plate final: Karnataka 100 (Deepali 28, Sonam Kaur 25, Chandrakala 11) bt Haryana 56 (Monica 12, Sulekha 16, Neetu 11).