It`s TN vs Punjab and Indian Railways vs Chhattisgarh in final

Chennai: Tamil Nadu earned a shot at their sixth title in the men`s competition by reaching the final while the reigning women`s champions Indian Railways also made the summit clash of the 62nd National Basketball championship on Friday.

Tamil Nadu, which won five titles in a row from 1999 to 2003, got the better of last year finalists Services 74-70 in the extra time of the semifinal contest.

Tamil Nadu will take on Punjab, which defeated Indian Railways 95-57.

The women team of Indian Railways relatively had an easy outing as they outplayed Tamil Nadu 76-41 in their semi-finals.

The defending champions will take on Chhattisgarh, which pipped Delhi 59-56 in a close semifinal contest.

In the men`s semifinals, Services looked a disjointed lot as they trailed 33-45 at the break but Praveen Dhaiya was instrumental in the team`s comeback in the second half.

With Praveen coming up with two pointers at frequent intervals, Services managed to reduce the margin to 53-58 at the end of the third quarter and then the match became more interesting.

Tamil Nadu wilted under pressure midway as Services started taking control of the proceedings. At one stage Services even led 61-60.

In between Tamil Nadu`s top scorer Mihir Pandey and Services stars Vipin and Narender Grewal played beautifully and the teams were locked 64-64 and then 66-66 at the 40 minutes of regulation time.

Teams were locked 70-70 in extra-time when Tamil Nadu`s Saravana Rajan gained free throws for a foul by a Services defender. Rajan cashed in on the opportunity and came with three throws (two plus one) for points to steer the side to the final.

For Tamil Nadu Mihir Pandey top scored with 20 points and Saravana Rajan accounted for 18, while Services were helped by Narender Grewal (20) and Vipin (15).

The Railways-Tamil Nadu women match was one-sided throughout as Geetu Anna Jose, who played the full 40 minutes of match, spearheaded the team`s win.

Geetu netted 25 points and was well supported by Anitha Paul Durai (15) and Manisha S Dange (12). While for Tamil Nadu`s Sangeetha (12), Neena Harendran (9) and Apoorva Muralinath (8) were the main scroers.


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