Title-holder ONGC faces tough test in Federation Cup

The cream of Indian basketball will be in action at the Chittoor District Sports Authority stadium courts during the senior Federation Cup from May 1 to 6.

Punjab Police hoopsters training at the Chittoor District Sports Authority courts on the eve of the senior Federation Cup basketball tournament.   -  Special Arrangement

The cream of Indian basketball will be in action at the Chittoor District Sports Authority stadium courts during the senior Federation Cup from May 1 to 6. It will be the last major tournament before the Asian Games and will be streamed live on Youtube for the first time.

It will be no cakewalk for defending men’s champion Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Dehradun. It will have tough competition from Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab Police who look formidable. The title-holder’s campaign may be short of much of its steam if Vishesh Bhriguvanshi doesn’t take the court. He also failed to turn up for India at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and World Cup qualifiers, owing to injury.

There would however be excitement around Muin Bek, the Tamil Nadu forward, now turning out for ONGC. Officials say he’s capable of jumping over a car! Following his stint at the IMG Academy in Florida, he has proved a regular nightmare for rival defences.

Arshpreet Singh and Amjyot Singh will add muscle to Punjab Police, the former a jump shot specialist who watches NBA’s Stephen Curry before every major match.

Pradyumna P.S., IAS, Collector and Chairman, District Sports Authority was keen to have the event on two synthetic courts adjoining the present venue. Delayed curing of the bitumen base left the endeavour incomplete although the collector and T. Chengalraya Naidu, organising president are confident of staging another major national event in the near future.

The air-conditioned ground floor dining area will be reserved for players and officials as well as each team will be allotted a bus to transport them from the hotel to the venue and vice-versa. About 3000 spectators can watch the action, half of them from six-tiered temporary galleries. A fully equipped ambulance with three doctors on two shifts will handle medical emergencies, said Naidu, a former cager himself and better known as Babu.

Cosco will be the official ball for the tournament.

The groups:

Men: Group A: ONGC, Dehradun; BSF, Jodhpur; Customs & Excise, Kochi; MEG, Bangalore; SAAP. B: IOB, Chennai;  Punjab Police; Hissar Club; Western Railway.

Women: A: Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh. B: Telangana, Eastern Railway, Delhi, Maharashtra.

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