IOB survives scare to enter final

IOB (Chennai) men defeated Vijaya Bank 74-71 to set up summit clash with ONGC, which recorded a narrow 55-51 win over Army Red. In the women's section, Kerala came up trumps in its semifinal clash against Telangana and will face Chhattisgarh eves in the final.

Forward Yadwinder Singh of ONGC Uttarakhand looks for the drive and dish against Army Red, in Panjim on Sunday.   -  Special Arrangement

IOB (Chennai) survived a scare at the hands of Vijaya Bank (Bengaluru), before eventually posting a 74-71 win to enter the men's final of the Federation Cup basketball tournament here on Sunday.

It was the supremely athletic Vijaya Bank unit which called the shots in the first-half. IOB (Chennai) then began to claw its way back, on the back of incisive performances from Siva Balan and Pratham Singh. The Bengaluru lads, however, refused to give up. With a little over a minute left, Rajesh Uppar (25 points) sunk a deep three-pointer to reduce the IOB lead to two points, before B.K. Anil Kumar (20 pts) finished a layup to level the score at 71.

In a frenetic final minute of action, IOB’s K. Hareesh converted from beyond the three-point line to pull his side in front. His opposite number Anil then missed a floater, and time ran out on Vijaya Bank.

The fiercely-contested match saw R. Vineeth (IOB) and Naveen Raj (Vijaya Bank) ejected for fighting. The blows exchanged were soft – it was a case of emotions boiling over.

In the other semifinal fixture, ONGC (Dehradun) recorded a narrow 55-51 win over Army Red.

Kerala’s march in the women’s section, meanwhile, continued unabated. The trio of Stephy Nixon (24, 13 rebounds), P.S. Jeena (19 pts, 10 rebounds) and P.G. Anjana (15 pts) once again sizzled. Kerala will face Chhattisgarh in the summit clash.

The results (semifinals):

Men: IOB (Chennai) 74 (Siva Balan 20, Pratham Singh 16, Aravind Annadurai 10) bt Vijaya Bank (Bengaluru) 71 (Rajesh Uppar 25, B.K. Anil Kumar 20); ONGC (Dehradun) 55 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 18, Riyazuddin 17) bt Army Red 51 (Mayur Bhat 20, Ramesh Kumar 12, Jairam Jat 10).

Women: Kerala 68 (Stephy Nixon 24, P.S. Jeena 19, P.G. Anjana 15) bt Telangana 54 (R. Ramya 14, P. Divya 14, M. Gayathri 12); Chhattisgarh 83 (Poonam Chaturvedi 46, Saranjeet Kaur 16, Riya Verma 11) bt Southeast Central Railways (Bilaspur) 68 (Seema Singh 27, Sangeeta Kaur 14).

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