Bengaluru, 10th October 2015: The knockout stages always bring out the best in teams and players. In a win-or-go-home scenario, past form rarely matters, and one crucial possession, block, steal or missed shot can either exalt a team to the coveted title, or turn dreams into ashes.

Such was the case in the penultimate day of the 2nd Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty All India Basketball Tournament 2015 that is underway at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.

The Championship, featuring leading Indian men’s club teams, is being organised by Vijaya Bank under the auspices of Basketball Federation of India and Karnataka State Basketball Association, at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.

Income Tax Chennai outclass KSEB

Income Tax Point guard Akilan Pari (in white) keeping possession against KSEB.

Income Tax Point guard Akilan Pari (in white) keeping possession against KSEB.

Cagers from Kerala have always played with a high degree of passion and teamwork, which has allowed them to make up for a lack of size. Kerala State Electricity Board, Thiruvananthapuram threw everything they could at Income Tax-Chennai, pushing the tempo of the game to suit their smaller lineup. But such is the class of this new look Income Tax-Chennai team, that despite the energy shown by their opponents, they calmly went about their business, raking up a 21-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The lead remained throughout with the Taxmen, as they succeeded in getting to their chosen spot on offense and limiting KSEB from scoring in the paint. KSEB had its moments of note. The second quarter saw them knocking down a couple of threes to come within 6, and the score at halftime was 37-26 in favour of the Chennai team.

The second half saw Income Tax, Chennai continue to gradually increase its lead. International centre Rikin Pethani, thoroughly exploited the advantages of being the tallest player on court, with his strong rebounding on both ends of the floor. Point guard Akilan Pari, the other international player in the side, marshalled his troops to perfection. The remaining role players did what was expected of them, from moving the ball from side to side, playing help defense, converting layups and knocking down the outside jumper when it was required of them.

The Income Tax-Chennai side has grown from strength to strength and their consistent performances will ensure that their confidence is high going into the finals.

ONGC beats hosts Vijaya Bank

Difference Maker: Yadwinder Singh of ONGC attempts a jumpshot against Vijaya Bank.

Difference Maker: Yadwinder Singh of ONGC attempts a jumpshot against Vijaya Bank.

Form is temporary. Class is permanent. ONGC has played sub-par in the league stages, qualifying to the semifinals as the surprising second seed behind Income Tax-Chennai in Pool A.

Playing without their international centre Amritpal Singh, who is away in Japan pursuing his professional basketball career, and with international small forward Yadwinder Singh nursing an injury, ONGC has struggled to find the right balance so far. In their absence, current India captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, and former international Trideep Rai have stepped up at the perimeter, providing a crucial 1-2 scoring punch. The forward line though has been shaky, as aging centre Murali Krishna has been found wanting at times, unable to keep up against faster opponents.

In their toughest test yet, they took on hosts Vijaya Bank, who apart from the huge advantage of playing at home, are also seeing the coming-of-age of new international stars Rajesh Uppar (point guard) and Arvind Arumugam (power forward/centre). Vijaya Bank had coasted through to the semis without much trouble, topping their Pool B with an undefeated 3-0 record.

The match started exactly as Vijaya Bank would have hoped for, and ONGC would have dreaded. Energised by their home crowd, the inspired Bankers couldn’t do anything wrong in the first two quarters. When you have your forwards and centres draining threes (in this case Roby Thomas and Arvind Arumugam), you know the match is going your way. At halftime, Vijaya Bank held an enviable 39-28 lead. That’s when the match turned on its head.

In a game of two halves, the ONGC veterans finally found their rhythm in the third period. Sparked by the inspired backcourt duo of Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Riyazuddin, coupled by some aggressive defense by Yadwinder Singh on primary opposition scorer Arvind, ONGC won the period 20-13. Great teams know how to win games, and sensing a drop in confidence in their opponents, ONGC completely took over the game in the fourth quarter. Vijaya Bank managed only 6 points in the final ten minutes, while ONGC raked up 24 points, and a final 72-58 semifinal win.

ONGC will hope to continue this knockout punch in the finale tomorrow against Income-Tax Chennai

SEMIFINALS RESULTS (10/10/2015)

Income Tax, Chennai (Rikin Pethani 20, Akilan Pari 12) bt Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Thiruvananthapuram (Anoop D 11, Tony K Mathew 8) 72-34 [21-9, 16-15, 18-4, 17-6]

ONGC, Dehradun (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 20, Riyazuddin 20, Trideep Rai 10) bt Vijaya Bank, Bengaluru (Arvind Arumugam 15, Rajesh Uppar 8, Sanjay Raj 12) 72-58 [15-24, 13-15, 20-13, 24-6]

Late evening League Match Result from 10/10/2015

Pool A: ONGC Dehradun (Riyazuddin 14, Trideep Rai 13, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 13) bt Punjab (R Sharma 16, Rajveer Singh 10) 71-57 [18-6, 9-18, 27-12, 17-21]

About the Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty All India Basketball Tournament

The tournament is being held at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru from 7th to 11th October 2015, under the auspices of the Basketball Federation of India and the Karnataka State Basketball Association. Matches will be played every evening from 5:00 pm onwards in a league cum knockout basis.

The tournament is being held in the memory of the Late Shri Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty, a longstanding former Chairman, who was instrumental in the growth of the bank through the 60s and 70s.

There are 8 teams in the fray in this tournament, divided into two Pools of 4 teams each. This edition of the tournament will feature some of the nation’s top men’s club sides such as last year’s runners up and reigning National Games champion Oil and National Gas Corporation (ONGC)-Dehradun, Punjab, Integral Coach Factory (ICF)-Chennai, Income Tax-Chennai, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), South Central Railway-Secunderabad, hosts Vijaya Bank and Karnataka State team.

The top two teams from each Pool qualifying to the knockout rounds. The inaugural edition of the tournament was held last year in Malleshwaram, with Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)-Chennai, ONGC, Vijaya Bank and Karnataka State finishing as the top four teams respectively.

FIXTURES OF THE 2ND MULKI SUNDER RAM SHETTY ALL INDIA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT, BENGALURU

7th to 11th October 2015

Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru

Pool A

Pool B

ONGC, Dehradun VIJAYA BANK, Bengaluru
PUNJAB INTEGRAL COACH FACTORY (ICF), Chennai
INCOME TAX, Chennai SOUTH CENTRAL RAILWAY, Hyderabad
KARNATAKA STATE KERALA STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD (KSEB), Thiruvananthapuram

 

UPCOMING SCHEDULE OF MATCHES

11.10.2015

Matches from 4:00 pm onwards

  1. 3rd Place Match: Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) vs Vijaya Bank
  2. Income Tax-Chennai vs ONGC, Dehradun

About Vijaya Bank & Its Basketball Programme

Vijaya Bank, was founded on 23rd October 1931 by late Shri A B Shetty and other enterprising farmers in Mangalore, Karnataka. The objective of the founders was essentially to promote banking habit, thrift and entrepreneurship among the farming community of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka State. The bank became a scheduled bank in 1958.

Vijaya Bank steadily grew into a large All India bank, with nine smaller banks merging with it during the 1963-68. The credit for this merger as well as growth goes to late Shri M. Sunder Ram Shetty, who was then the Chief Executive of the bank. The bank was nationalised on 15th April 1980. The bank has built a network of 1512 branches, 48 Extension Counters and 1528 ATMs, that span all 28 states and 4 union territories in the country.

Each branch provides effective and efficient services and significantly contributes to the growth of the individual, and the nation.

Notably, Vijaya Bank is the only recruiter of basketball talent in the state of Karnataka, and has contributed 10 international players to the country, starting with Olympian Gurumurthy Dileep, who joined the bank way back in 1977. Other international players honed by the bank are former India captain BS Gautham (1986), A Rajkumar (1988), S Stalin (1993), G Murali Mohan (1995), Roshan Thankachan (1999), Sanjay Raj (2002), Arvind Arumugam and Rajesh Uppar (both in 2012). Including these international stars, in all, the bank has recruited 25 national level players, who have represented their bank and the state of Karnataka with great pride and gusto.

Gopalakrishnan R
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