Bengaluru, 22nd October 2016: The Vijaya Bank organised 3rd Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty All India Basketball Tournament for Men 2016 entered its knockout stages at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in the city.  The tournament is being conducted under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India and the Karnataka State Basketball Association.

Hosts Vijaya Bank set up a summit clash with fellow Group A rivals Indian Bank. The finals will be played tomorrow evening from 5:30 pm onwards. The third and fourth place match between Customs and Central Excise, Kochi vs SDAT, Chennai will be held earlier in the afternoon from 3:30 pm onwards.

Vijaya Bank bt Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu 106-75

Player of the match S Karthickeyan of Vijaya Bank evades the defence of SDAT, Chennai.

Group A toppers Vijaya Bank took on Group B’s second placed team Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), Chennai in the first semifinal of the day.

The first quarter began in scary fashion for SDAT, with their starting centre P Vijay getting injured and found grimacing on the floor. Luckily, Vijay would stay on in the game and be the anchor of a full court press defense by SDAT that had Vijaya Bank in a spot of trouble. SDAT had started the game playing an active zone defence which Vijaya Bank had the measure of in the initial goings. The switch to the full court press did wonders for the side as they tied the game at 19 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a buzzer beater by R Karthick. The fact that Vijaya Bank had brought in veteran Sanjay Raj, arguably the slowest player on court, did not help the hosts as SDAT were able to force Vijaya Bank into multiple turnovers and capitalize during the ensuing transition opportunities.

In the second quarter, Vijaya Bank started with back to back threes, first by former India point guard Rajesh Uppar, followed by another by shooting guard Anil Kumar. Two transition buckets followed and in a matter of minutes Vijaya Bank had opened up a 10 point lead. Small forward Karthickeyan then proved unstoppable with his repeated slashing drives to the basket.

SDAT Coach James Daniel could be overheard berating his young players to play better defence and the talk seemed to have a positive effect as P Vijay registered a huge block to spark an SDAT run. SDAT were able to bring it within five points midway through the second quarter before quick transition buckets by Anil Kumar had Vijaya Bank taking a 11 point lead, 48-37 going into the second half.

Having crucially weathered SDAT’s storm, all that Vijaya Bank needed to do in the second half was reduce their mistakes on both ends of the floor and look for quality possessions. On their part, SDAT would need to play a near perfect second half to have a chance for a comeback. Unfortunately that didn’t happen as they missed fairly open looks.

Vijaya Bank kept their scoring tempo going, building on their double digit lead to finish with a final score of 106-75 and memorably seal their maiden spot in the finals of their home tournament. India international PF/C Arvind Arumugam of Vijaya Bank was once again the top scorer with 30 points, benefiting from numerous easy putbacks.

S Karthickeyan of Vijaya Bank is awarded the Most Valuable Player of the match by Vijaya Bank's Olympian Basketball Dilip Gurumurthy.

Small forward S Karthickeyan of Vijaya Bank was named the player of the match and received a trophy and cash prize from Vijaya Bank’s former Olympian basketballer Dilip Gurumurthy.

Vijaya Bank (Arvind Arumugam 30, Anil Kumar 26, Karthik 21, Rajesh Uppar 11) bt Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Justin 24, P Vijay 15, R Karthick 12) 106-75 [19-19, 29-18, 23-19, 35-19]

Indian Bank bt Customs and Central Excise, Kochi 78-75

Player of the match A Surya of Indian Bank makes a layup against Kochi Customs.

Group B’s top team Customs and Central Excise, Kochi took on Group A’s second placed side Indian Bank, Chennai in the second semifinals.

Indian Bank started off with Tamil Nadu’s senior state player PS Arun in place of junior India captain P Baladhaneshwar. The move worked wonders as Indian Bank built up an early 9-2 lead.

Customs and Central Excise did not play former India international forward Eudrick Pereira (who sustained an injury in the previous game) and in his absence fellow international Basil Philip handled the bulk of the defensive load. Philip did a commendable job in hindering current senior India debutant Hariram Ragupathy.

In the second quarter, Customs started to pull away with Philip impacting the game on both ends of the floor. He was ably supported by PF/C Shinumon who played some strong defence down low. PS Arun of Indian Bank though kept the side close. Indian Bank’s P Baladhaneshwar finally made an entry into the game and provided some much needed spark, but Indian Bank’s defence still left a lot to be desired. The Bankers made a late surge with timely buckets to cut Customs’ lead to 4 at halftime.

At halftime, Customs led 41-37.

In the third quarter, Customs was struck a big blow when Philip got fouled out of the game. Sensing an opportunity, the young Indian Bank turned up their aggression to convert a 51-55 deficit at the time of Philip’s departure into a tied game 55-55. At the end of the third quarter though, Customs regained a precarious 59-57 lead.

The final quarter started with a lot of back and forth, as both teams found the basket. Former India international Monish Wilson came off the bench and made some late threes but Indian Bank’s trio of Baladhaneshwar, Hariram and Puvaneshwaran kept their scoring going too in the clutch to seal the emotion three point win.

A Surya of Indian Bank gets the player of the match award from Sudhakar Shetty of Vijaya Bank.

Sudhakar Shetty, Deputy General Secretary of Vijaya Bank Employers Union presented the player of the match trophy and cash prize to forward A Surya of Indian Bank.

Indian Bank (Hariram Ragupathy 21, A Surya 20, M Puvaneshwaran 16, Baladhaneshwar 11) bt Customs and Central Excise, Kochi (Basil Philip 19, Bony Mathew 17, Shinumon 12) 78-75 [19-21, 18-20, 20-18, 21-16]

About the Tournament

Venue: Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru

Dates: 19th to 23rd October 2016

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

Matches are being played every evening on a league cum knockout basis. There are 7 teams in the fray in this tournament, divided into two Groups. The top two teams from each Group will progress to the semifinals followed by the finals.

This edition of the tournament is featuring some of the nation’s top men’s club sides such as hosts Vijaya Bank, Central Excise & Customs-Kochi, Indian Bank, Integral Coach Factory (ICF)-Chennai, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT)-Chennai and Karnataka State team (‘President’s 11’).

The following are the 13 international players who are participating: Indian Bank (Hariram- Senior India; Moses Jeevananth- Junior India; P Baladhaneshwar- Junior India), Vijaya Bank (Arvind Arumugam, Rajesh Uppar, Sanjay Raj- Senior India; S Karthickeyan- Junior India), Kerala State Electricity Board (Sreerag N Nair- Junior India, Arun Harikumar- Youth India), Cochin Customs (Eudrick Pereira, Basil Philip, Monish Wilson- Senior India), President’s 11, Karnataka (Guruprasad Nayak- Junior India).

Past Edition Details

The inaugural edition of the tournament was held in 2014 in Malleshwaram, with Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)-Chennai, ONGC, Vijaya Bank and Karnataka State finishing as the top four teams respectively.

The 2nd edition was held in 2015 at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru. Income Tax-Chennai emerged winners, with ONGC, Vijaya Bank and Kerala State Electricity Board rounding off the top four.

Vijaya Bank- A proud heritage in basketball

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 1984. 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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