Federation Cup: ASC guns down Customs to enter semifinals

Army Service Corps, Karnataka, ousted an off-colour Customs and Central Excise (Kerala) 73-46 for a place in the men’s semifinal of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship.

Army Service Corps made best use of the space and the situation to fire from all sides.   -  M. Periasamy

Army Service Corps (ASC), Karnataka, ousted an off-colour Customs and Central Excise (Kerala) 73-46 for a place in the men’s semifinal of the 31st Federation Cup basketball championship at the PSG Indoor Sports Complex courts here on Friday.

The Kerala men blew any chance they had as early as in the first session.

They could easily have tightened the defence and trimmed down the fast-ticking scoring rate of the spirited ASC men, who were first-time qualifiers for the tournament. Instead, they allowed the ASC forwards, especially Issac T. Thomas and Jeethandar, to roam freely, and that turned out to be costly.

ASC made best use of the space and the situation to fire from all sides, and the Customs men were seen running for cover. Of course, they did not have their strongest, who were nursing injuries, to shield them from the sudden onslaught.

With a big lead in their bag, ASC played the last two quarters with a great deal of creativity and flair. They showed no mercy and continued to attack and, with nothing left in the tournament, the Customs men soon threw in the towel.

“The strong result is basically because of some young blood (average age 24) in the team. We have youngsters who have great prospects to represent the country,” said ASC coach G.R.L Prasad.

IAF fights back

In another match, the Indian Air Force (IAF), which lost the opener, staged a brilliant fightback midway through the third quarter to defeat Ludhiana Basketball Academy 95-80 and book the second semifinal berth from Group A.

It was brilliant combination in play coupled with some extraordinary passing that saw the team through the tense period. The team was trailing by eight points when G. Narender (26 pts.) and Hemant Sheoran (23) worked magic in the middle.

“Our boys have experience [in] playing such situations. We also wisely rotated all our 12 players,” said IAF coach Jora Singh, experienced international.

Kerala shown the door; Tamil Nadu scrapes through

In the women's section, defending champion Kerala had to pack its bag despite scoring a 73-61 win over host Tamil Nadu as it finished
third in its group (B).

The champion outfit, which lost to West Bengal the other day, had to beat the host by a 14-point margin. It looked comfortable for most
part enjoying a lead of 19 but lost the plot in the dying minutes and agonisingly fell short by two points at the whistle.

The results:

Men: Army Service Corps (Karnataka) 73 (Issac T. Thomas 18) bt Customs & Central Excise (Kerala) 46; Indian Air Force 95 (G. Narender 26, Hemant Sheoran 23) bt Ludhiana BA 80 (Arshpreet Singh 24, Jaipal Singh 22); Central Railways 68 (Rakesh 16, Amit 15) bt Income Tax (Gujarat)
63 (Dishant 23, Kasi 21).

On Thursday: Indian Air Force 87 (G. Narendra 23, K. Nikhil 13) bt Customs & Central Excise (Kerala) 52 (Eudrick Pereira 22).

Women: Southern Railway 65 (Raja Priya 15, Amita Minj 14) bt Punjab 52 (Gagandeep Kaur 16, Amanpreet Kaur 14); West Bengal 79 (Sitamani Tudu 19, Anjana 15) bt Delhi 50 (Sahiba 11, Princy 11); Kerala 73 (P. Anjana 26, P. Surya 12) bt Tamil Nadu 61 (R. Varshana 21, S. Srividhya 13).

On Thursday: Tamil Nadu 80 (Keerthi 18, Sri Vidya 13) bt Delhi 66 (Garima 12, Sahiba 11). Southern Rly. 74 (P. Anitha 24, Raja Priya 18) bt Telangana 57 (Divya Palanivel 19, Aswathy 13).

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