ONGC (in dark blue) versus Punjab tips off. Photo Courtesy: tournament Organisors.

ONGC (in dark blue) versus Punjab tips off. Photo courtesy: tournament organisors.

Jaipur, 12/4/14: In what was the most exciting match of the 17th All India Advani Memorial Basketball Tournament (AIAMBT) ’14, defending champions ONGC men rallied in the final minute against an inspired Punjab side to pull through to the finals. In a back and forth game that went right down to the wire, ONGC led by as many as 7 points mid way through the third quarter. But Punjab rallied with a couple of sensational players by teenager Loveneet Singh to open up a five point lead with barely four minutes left in the game.

But the last four minutes would see yet another reversal of fortunes and ONGC would tie the game with 50 seconds remaining for the final buzzer. Then a turnover by Punjab led to an easy lay-up for Riyazzudin giving ONGC a two point lead. In thie next possession, Punjab’s Ranbir Singh tried to take the lead by shooting a quick three instead of tying the game and came back empty handed. Indian Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi wrapped things up with an incredible reverse lay-up in dying seconds to seal a nail biting 81-77 victory.

The Delhi women’s team endured an evening that they’d like to forget in a hurry. South East Central Railway, featuring some players from the Chhattisgarh side that were the champions at last month’s senior national basketball championship in Delhi — including Bharti Netam, Pushpa and Kavita — walked all over the side from the national capital. Despite Delhi connecting nine times from long distance, they couldnt keep up with SECR’s speed and toughness through all four quarters. SECR won by a mammoth 90-55 margin.

Earlier in the morning, Southern Railway Chennai hit the ground running and took a 14-8 first quarter lead against Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). Southern led comfortably at halftime 34-16. Although Geethu Anna Jose scored only 7 points, she was a vital cog in the Southern Railways defense that didn’t allow KSEB to score more than 9 points in any of the quarters.

In the second morning semifinal, Indian Air Force reigned supreme against the rest of the combined services team Services Sports Control Board (SSCB). IAF energetic play was laudable considering that their previous league match had ended at 11:30 pm the night before, where they scored a remarkable 101 points against RCF Kapurthala.

Semifinal Results (12/04/14)

  1. Southern Railway Chennai 55 (Adhirai 16, Kokila 15) bt Kerala State Electricity Board 28 (Jeena PS 10)- WOMEN
  2. Indian Air Force 76 (Praveen 17, Shivraj Singh 16) bt Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) 51 (Gopal Ram 11, Baldev Singh 11)- MEN
  3. South East Central Railway Bilaspur 90 (Anju Lakra 19, Seema Singh 16) bt Delhi 55 (Shiba Maggon 18)- WOMEN
  4. ONGC Dehradun 81 (Amritpal Singh 27, Trideep Rai 18) bt bt Punjab State 77 (Amritpal Singh 16)- MEN