IOB silences Army guns to lift PSG Trophy

Pratham Singh starred for Indian Overseas Bank with a contribution of 23 points.

The Indian Overseas Bank team with the winner’s trophy.   -  S. Siva Saravanan

Pratham Singh (23 pts) did the star turn as Indian Overseas Bank (Chennai) scored a 77-59 win over a never-say-die Indian Army from Pune in the final of the 53rd All-India basketball tournament for men for the PSG Trophy at the PSG Tech Indoor Sports Complex courts here on Thursday.

Only the other day, IOB had edged out Army by four points. The latter was expected to gain sweet revenge and, it was quite evident the way it started the first quarter. It ran the full length of the floor and scored baskets with ease for an early advantage. But the former, after a sloppy first minute, found its rhythm and the range to gain a seven-point cushion (21-14) going into the second quarter.

The next two quarters was closely fought. If Pratham, Prasanna and Aravind found the ring, so did Issac Thomas and Jeethandar Singh for Army, which also excelled in its outside shooting. It was only a couple of points that separated the teams.

Crucial baskets

It looked anybody's game in the final quarter but the Bank men came up with some crucial baskets through Venkatesh and Pratham when it mattered to turn the table in its favour. In fact, it was sheer brilliance of the IOB men in the final three minutes of the game that sealed the fate of Indian Army.

IOB's coach Aezaz Ahmed admitted that the team was under some pressure. “They got a lot of three pointers and that did the maximum damage. But our boys did not lose hope. They stayed strong to lift the title.”

The results

Final: IOB (Chennai) 77 (Pratham Singh 23, A. Aravind 16, Prasanna Venkatesh 15) bt Indian Army (Pune) 59 (Issac T. Thomas 18, Jeethandar Singh 11).

Third place: Punjab Police 95 (Ranbir Singh 23, Gurjinder Singh 21, Gurvinder Gill 18) bt Vijaya Bank (Bengaluru) 72 (Anil Kumar 25, Roby Thomas 11, Rajesh Uppar 10).