Rohtak, 4th August 2016: The 1st All India Basketball Tournament for Men, Rohtak entered its final day of league matches at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex in Sector 6. The tournament is being organised by the Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH) under the aegis of the Haryana State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India.
Mr Ajit Singh Jhangu (IRS), Chief Project Director, Railway Electrification (Ambala) was the first guest of the evening. Later in the evening, one of the doyens of local industry Mr Rajesh Jain, Managing Director of LPS Bossard was present as guest for the later games. Finally, for the last match of the night, Mr Ritesh Dalal, MD of D2M Hotel, a hospitality partner, was present.
With the four semifinal teams having already been decided yesterday, the last day of league matches involved a contrasting combination of teams searching for their first win and others looking to end the group stages on top. In the end, ONGC and Railways topped their respective groups while Haryana and Punjab teams bowed out on winning notes.
Semifinals timings (5th August 2016)
3.30 pm Income Tax, Chennai vs Indian Railway
5.00 pm ONGC, Dehradun vs Indian Army
Final League Standings
(top two teams from each group progress to the semis)
|Final seeding||Group A||Group B|
|1||ONGC, Dehradun (3-0)||Indian Railway (3-0)|
|2||Income Tax, Chennai (2-1)||Indian Army (2-1)|
|3||Haryana (1-2)||Punjab (1-2)|
|4||Indian Air Force (0-3)||Basketball Club of Haryana (0-3)|
Punjab bt Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH) 79-75
In the first match today, Group A’s bottom two teams took on each other in search of their first win. Having been knocked out of contention of the main competition, these teams were playing for pride. Hosts Basketball Club of Haryana especially were hoping to post a win on their homecourt. In the first quarter, BCH led 26-24 before the momentum started shifting Punjab’s way. A young side, Punjab passed the ball beautifully to get multiple people on the scoreboard. After matching Haryana in the second quarter, by the end of the third quarter Punjab was leading 60-54.
Now under pressure, BCH’s trio of Yudhvir, Bhupender and Vipin stepped up in the final 10 minutes. The well-built Bhupender was especially aggressive and for BCH within 3 points of Punjab halfway through the fourth quarter. However, Punjab immediately went on a run to lead 68-61, and managed to hold on to a two possession lead right till the final buzzer.
As many as five Punjab players had scored in double digits led by Akshay Deep’s 24 points. Panipat (Haryana) born Sahil, who trains in the Ludhiana Basketball Academy and represents Punjab, was named man of the match. This was the latest achievement for the teenager who is currently on the junior Indian team which just returned from its 8th place finish at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Men.
Punjab (Akshay Deep 24, Gurwinder S 16, Sahil 15) bt Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH) (Yudhvir 19, Bhupender 17, Vipin 12) 79-75 [24-26, 16-16, 20-12, 19-21]
Haryana bt Indian Air Force 102-78
This was the second straight game featuring two teams yet to win in the competition. But unlike Punjab and BCH, which featured many youngsters, these were two seasoned teams which had competed well in their two losses so far.
With ONGC Dehradun and Income Tax Chennai being the other teams in the group, It could be argued that Group A is the group of death in this tournament.
Haryana were aching to register their first win in the state’s first ever All India Championship, and that desperation showed right from the get go. Haryana led from the start right to the finish, with their lead ballooning with each passing minute. They led 25-22 at the end of the first quarter and 47-35 at halftime, before Air Force mounted a semblance of a comeback in the third. But that turned out to be the lull before the final storm for Haryana, which scored a whopping 33 points in the fourth. Belying expectations, it wasn’t international guard Vinay Kaushik who led the charge for Haryana. In fact he was the side’s fourth highest scorer, as diminutive point guard Narender was in scorching touch from beyond the arc. Narender would hit 5 threes in route to deservedly being named the man of the match, for arguably his best ever scoring performance at the senior level.
Haryana (Narender 28, Ravinder 16, Pradeep 16, Vinod 14, Vinay 13) bt Indian Air Force (Ashutosh Rai 23, Rohit 15, Joginder 12, Nikhil 10) 102-78 [25-22, 22-13, 22-27, 33-16]
ONGC, Dehradun bt Income Tax, Chennai 73-50
In the final Group A league match, ONGC Dehradun outlasted the short staffed Income Tax, Chennai 73-50 to cruise into the semifinals as the top seeded team from Group A. Income Tax, Chennai too has progressed to the semifinals as the second group team. Featuring only 7 players in their squad, Income Tax, Chennai were dealt with a further blow as starting point guard, and current India player, Akilan Pari had to sit out the match due to an ankle sprain.
In his absence, fellow international Rikin Pethani shouldered the load on both ends of the floor. However, even for the graceful Rikin, the task of handling rival centres Amritpal Singh and Murali Krishna was too much to bear. Amritpal returned to the side after missing the previous few games, and immediately energised himself and the crowd with a transition dunk in the second half. Income Tax, which led at the end of the first quarter 21-19, was soon swept by the versatility of the ONGC attack. ONGC features three current internationals Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Yadwinder Singh and Amritpal, and all three imposed their will at various stages of the match.
Backup guard Hakkem had a few impressive plays for Income Tax, but the Dehradun side were largely untroubled, winning by a 23 point margin.
ONGC, Dehradun (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 28, Yadwinder Singh 11, Amritpal Singh 10) bt Income Tax, Chennai (Rikin Pethani 16, Hakkem 10, Raghuram 10) 73-50 [19-21, 24-12, 15-11, 15-6]
Indian Railway bt Indian Army
In the final league match of the tournament, Indian Railway beat Army to go atop Group B. Indian Railway was lulled into complacency as it held a 11 point lead going into the second quarter. As a result, eventual man of the match Jai Bir took advantage, turning out into the X-Factor of the game. The guard had 5 three pointers, started from the end of the first quarter and stretching upto the end of the third quarter, to help Army outscore Railway 44-40. Railway led 66-59 going into the final 10 minutes, and Jai Bir getting fouled out at the start of the period was a godsend for the side that went on a 32-21 tear to end the game with a big 98-80 victory. for Railway, centre Somveer had a big scoring night of 32 points, aided by Gagan (16 pts) & Ajay Pratap (15 pts).
Indian Railway (Somveer 32, Gagan 16, Ajay Pratap 15, Birender 14) bt Indian Army (Ramesh 17, Jai Bir 15, Gopal Ram 14, Vishal 14) 98-80 [26-15, 19-19, 21-25, 32-21]
About the 1st All India Basketball Tournament, Rohtak (Haryana)
There are 8 participating men’s club teams:
- ONGC, Dehradun (Group A)
- Indian Railways (Group B)
- Punjab (Group B)
- Indian Army (Group B)
- Income Tax, Chennai (Group A)
- Indian Air Force (Group A)
- Haryana (Group A)
- Basketball Club of Haryana (Group B)
The teams have been divided into two preliminary groups A and B. Matches are being played in a league cum knockout basis every day from 4pm to 10pm in the indoor hall of the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex in Rohtak. The top two teams from each Group progress to the semifinals, followed by the finals on 6th August.
This is a prize money tournament and the winning team will receive INR 1,00,000/- and a trophy while the runners up get INR 50,000/-. Additionally, every man of the match will be awarded INR 2100/- and the tournament most valuable player (MVP) will get INR 5100/-. Individual winners will also receive trophies, and additionally the MVP will be gifted a full Rido basketball set.
The tournament sponsors are Shiv Naresh, LPS Bossard, Kalinga University (Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh), Pahli Khabar, Desan International (‘Rido’), D2M Hotel, Disha and Scholars Rosary.
Stars playing and in attendance
The stars who are in action include current India internationals such as Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Amritpal Singh, Yadwinder Singh (ONGC), Haryana’s very own Joginder Singh (Indian Air Force), Akilan Pari and Rikin Pethani (Income Tax, Chennai). The former internationals include Trideep Rai, Riyazuddin, Mohit Bhandari, Anoop Mukkaniyil, Shabeer Ahamed, Riyazuddin and R Murali Krishna (all ONGC).
Arjuna awardees Shri Om Prakash Sr. and Shri Ajmer Singh will be in attendance throughout the event, as well as Dhyand Chand Awardees Shri Ram Kumar and Smt Aparna Ghosh.
About Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH)
The Basketball Club of Haryana was founded in August 2015 with the aim of promoting basketball in the state. The 25 founding members include many coaches, players and physios.
About Haryana Basketball
Haryana is an emerging basketball powerhouse in India. In the 2014-15 Senior National Basketball Championship held in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, the men’s team made a historic run to the semifinals after upsetting Punjab for the first time in history. The last few years has also seen the rise of guards Narender Grewal and Joginder Singh into the Senior Indian men’s team. They both hail from Bamla village in Bhiwani district. Subsequently, at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship guard Vikas Kumar (from Dablain village in Jind District) was selected in the senior Indian team. The current junior Indian team at the 24th FIBA Asia Championship for U18 Men featured two Haryana players- Deepak (Israna Tehsil in Panipat Dist.) and Sahil (Kalka Tehsil in Panchkula Dist.). At the youth (U16) level in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship there was one Haryana player each in the boys and girls sections: Ankit Joshi (from Faridabad) and Namrata Hooda (from Kiloi Khas village in Rohtak Dist.). At the national level, Haryana’s younger age group teams, both in the boys and girls, consistently finish among India’s elite Level 1 states.