ONGC storm into semis
Vishesh guides Uttarakhand side past IOB; Vijaya Bank crash out
Contenders ONGC looked well and truly outplayed by Indian Overseas Bank before their skipper Vishesh Briguwanshi put on a show worthy of all the hype he received before entering the 27th Federation Cup basketball championship as he guided the recently crowned National champions to a hard-fought win on Friday.
The 22-year-old captain of the Indian men’s team did not seem to find his footing as everything he put up bounced off the rim and the passes were too easy to read and intercept. Briguwanshi let Yadwinder Singh (13) and Trideep Rai (11) take over the job of scoring in the second and the third quarters but when the chips were down, he found his shooting arm and struck down crucial points to help his side edge IOB 58-51 and book a spot in the semifinals.
Entering Friday’s game, ONGC looked a far cry from the side that had posted two comfortable wins in the league stage of the tournament, while IOB dominated -- much like how they did in their two previous wins.
Both the teams entered play with three big men, a shooting guard and one point guard but IOB’s power-fowards -- Rinik Pethani, Paul Abhilekh and Veenit Revi Mathew -- were easily quicker on their feet and did better to retrieve rebounds on both ends of the court.
ONGC’s Murali Krishna was by far the biggest power-foward on court and he was also the most agile of the lot but as was the case with the rest of his team, he failed to find his range. While ONGC, especially Briguwanshi, struggled on each play, IOB looked confident and comfortable to take a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, IOB were still in charge but ONGC changed their approach on the set plays and started pushing the ball forward quicker to try and beat their opponents with speed, and the ploy worked as they levelled scores (22-22) with 1.2 seconds left for the half-time break.
ONGC’s stuck to their fast-break approach and it forced IOB to make some changes but the entry of new men ruined their synchronisation even though they managed to stay on the heels of Durgesh Bhatia’s wards.
IOB even managed to take the lead on a couple of occasions but just as they did in the past, ONGC stepped it up when it mattered the most.
Briguwanshi, who can take apart any guard in a one-on-one situation, cleared out the ‘D’ and forced a couple of mis-matches to drive in at will and carry his team through to the next round.
Meanwhile, Vijaya Bank suffered twin losses on the day to crash out. The Bankmen lost to Punjab Police 61-72 and then suffered a 72-82 loss at the hands of Captain’s Club.
Karnataka women too suffered a similar fate as they went down 55-73 to South East Central Railway to exit the tournament without a win.
Results: Men: Group ‘A’: ONGC: 58 (Vishesh Briguwanshi 14, Yadwinder Singh 13, Trideep Rai 11, Riyaz Uddin 8, Murali Krishna 9) bt IOB: 51 (Mihir Pandey 18, Rinik Pethani 9, Pratham Singh 9, Hareesh Kharoth 8). HT: 23-26; IAF: 92 (Joginder Singh 24, Narendra Grewal 21, Praveen Kumar 22, A Rai 10) bt Central Excise and Customs: 82 (B Philip 25, E Perera 21, R Manoj 14, S Shenoy 14). HT: 49-33; Punjab Police: 72 (Ranbir Singh 22, Palpreet Singh 21, Amritpal Singh 15, Harminder Singh 10) bt Vijaya Bank: 61 (Arvind 17, Srinivas Naik 17, Basavaraj 14). HT: 37-30; Captain’s Club: Delhi: 82 (Praveen Dovan 34, Vinay Kaushik 23, Devesh Nair 10) bt Vijaya Bank: 72 (Arvind 25, Anil Kumar 18, Roby Thomas 14). HT: 46-38.
Group ‘B’: South Central Railway: 87 (Naveen Kumar 33) bt Jind Dist, Haryana: 72 (Deepak 26, Praveen 25). HT: 37-41.
Women: Group ‘A’: South East Central Railway: 73 (M Pushpa 27, Bharti Netam 16, Aruna Kindo 14, Seema Singh 12) bt Karnataka: 55 (LS Savitha 13, Sagarika Shyam 12, PU Navnita 9, J Sushmita 9). HT: 35-27; Kerala: 66 (Stephy Nixon 20, PS Jeena 19, KS Poojamol 11) bt Delhi: 42 (Raspreet Sidhu 29). HT: 39-28; SECR: 64 (Pushpa 14, Akansha 13, Bharthi 12) bt Delhi: 38 (Neha 8). HT: 31-22.
Group ‘B’: Tamil Nadu: 72 (M Adhiri 19, P Anitha 16, Raja Priyadarshini 13) bt Maharashatra: 43 (Radha Krishnan 13, Manisha Dange 9). HT: 36-28.