IOB retains trophy

INDIAN Overseas Bank (IOB), Chennai retained the P. D. Chidambara Sourya Narayanan Memorial Trophy for the fourth successive year in the 44th annual all-India basketball tournament conducted by the Silver Jubilee Sports Club at Periyakulam recently.

The victorious Indian Overseas Bank team which won the all-India tourney.-

Twenty four teams were in the fray, out of which four, Federation Cup Champion Indian Overseas Bank, Oil and National Gas Commission (ONGC), Dehra Dun, Vijaya Bank, Bangalore and Kerala State Electricity Board, Thiruvananthapuram qualified for the summit league from the knock-out phase.

In the summit league as well as in some of the earlier matches, there were keen contests and in some matches the victory margin was thin.

IOB showed clear cut superiority in every department of the game and that is why it is the top team of the country (Federation Cup champion). IOB finished on top with an all-win record and pocketed Rs. 15,000, besides the trophy. ONGC finished runner-up, losing only to IOB and was richer by Rs. 10,000. Vijaya Bank, Bangalore finished third with its only win over KSEB and got Rs.6000. KSEB which finished last losing all the three matches got Rs. 4000.

IOB which had in its ranks the Indian Senior players Robinson, Shabir Ali, Gopinath and Shridar and the Junior stars and upcoming State players, Chandrasekar and Sundar, exhibited consistency in all the matches. All of them were good in shooting, taking rebounds and passing. Of the other teams, there were Indian players with good experience in ONGC and Vijaya Bank and talented youngsters in KSEB ranks. KSEB upset the redoubtable TISCO, Jamshedpur in the quarter-finals by one point (56-55).

As such, IOB and ONGC with two wins each in the league clashed for the title in the last match and Vijaya Bank and KSEB, which lost to both of them, played the third place match on the final day and both these matches were keenly fought.

In the title clash, both teams played at their best and the score mounted steadily and alternately and at the end of the first quarter, IOB had a lead of four points (23-19) but within the next two minutes it was 30-all. Then came an assault by the championside with Robinson, Gopinath and Chandrasekar going on a scoring spree. IOB built up a 9-point (52-43) lead at the end of the second quarter and enhanced the lead to a commanding 15 points (68-53) midway in the third quarter. At this stage skipper Gopinath was taken out and Harihara Sudhan was introduced.

This happened to be a wrong choice as ONGC, capitalising on Gopinath's absence, attacked strongly. Deshraj and Nishant Kumar basketed fluently and Jaideep Dhaliwal and Mohit Bhandari also began scoring. Gopinath came back into the court and yet ONGC took command of the game and the score was level at 79-79 with four minutes to go. Here the champion side steadied and proved its superiority by playing a careful and tactical game. It tightened up its defence and forced the opponents to commit fouls and converted all the free throws and with two minutes to go IOB went into 86-80 lead. ONGC, resorted to full court press, but IOB stuck to the lead and clinched the issue at 93-83 for an all-win record in the league.

In the third place match also, the teams had alternate leads with Vijaya Bank leading 77-71 with hardly 15 seconds to go, when Preyes Jacob fired a three pointer to reduce the lead to 77-74 and was about to score another three pointer, which could have put the teams level. But the final whistle came a second before the ball was basketed.

In the earlier knock out matches, also Diesel Loco Works (DLW), Varanasi pipped Sports Hostel of Excellence, Chennai at the post (67-66).

In another match, Southern Railway, Chennai beat AOC, Secunderabad 86-82 in extra time after the teams were level 74-74 at full time. However, Southern Railway was derailed by Vijaya Bank, Bangalore in the quarter-finals.

Special Awards: Best player (League teams): Bobit Mathew (KSEB), Ashraf Ali (Vijaya Bank), Nishant Kumar (ONGC), Chandrasekar (IOB). Gold Coin: Mohit Bhandari (ONGC).

Best disciplined team: Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai.

The results (Summit league): IOB 93 (Chandrasekar 14, Gopinath 18, Shabir Ahmed 13, Robinson 30, Sridhar 16) bt ONGC Dehra Dun 83 (Mohit Bhandari 16, Deshraj 29, Nishant Kumar 22). Vijaya Bank 77 (Austin 32, Srinivas Gouda 22, Ashraf Ali 10) bt KSEB 74 (Preyes Jacob 28, Bobit Mathew 11, Ramesh 13, Robin Mathew 10).

IOB 77 (Sunder 24, Chandrasekar 12, Robinson 10) bt Vijaya Bank 67 (Ashraf Ali 23, Srinivas Gouda 17). ONGC Dehra Dun 84 (Nishant Kumar 18, Jaideep Paliwal 17, Mohit Bhandari 17, Suresh Kumar 12) bt Vijaya Bank 61 (Srinivasa Gouda 16, Ashraf Ali 15, Stalin 13).

ONGC 82 (Murli Krishnan 19, J.Deshraj 24, Nishant Kumar 11) bt KSEB 67 (Shabu Kumar 22, Aju Jacob 11, Ramesh 13, Bobit Mathew 10). IOB 75 (Robinson 13, Harihara Sudhan 12, Chandrasekar 10, Venkatasubramanian 10) bt KSEB 57 (Preyes Jacob 15, Bobit Mathew 15, Shabu Kumar 11).

G. Venugopal