Punjab regain national basketball
Chennai: Punjab regained National Basketball Championships title defeating Tamil Nadu, five time winners in a row, 70-62 while Indian Railways beat Chhattisgarh 94-70 to retain the women`s crown on Saturday.
The men`s final was an even affair until Punjab men used their height advantage to block Tamil Nadu players when the score was 58-55. This was the only time when Punjab had a three point lead.
Tamil Nadu failed to wriggle out of the clutches as they were short in stature. Also, the home side wilted under pressure and did anything right to make amends and continued to miss even easy baskets.
This win also turned out to be a sweet revenge for Punjab as they have suffered three successive losses earlier in the Nationals.
For Punjab, Amritpal Singh (21), Talwinder Singh (17) and Jagdeep Singh (17) were the main scores, while Tamil Nadu`s Rikin Pethani (24) was the lone star.
However, it was a creditable achievement by the Tamil Nadu youngsters as majority of them made their debut in the Nationals.
In the women`s section, top India player Geethu Anna Jose starred with a superb attacking game with an individual 31 points to help Railways retain the title.
The young Chhattisgarh players could not match the experienced Railway players in both attack and defence for over three quarters of the match.
Railways, packed with other India internationals like Anitha Paul Durai and Anju Lakra brought in their resources to get the better of Chhattisgarh midway in the fourth and final quarter.
Railways led 45-41 during the break and enjoyed a slender one point lead (23-22) in the first quarter and then Chhattisgarh came on level terms 36-36 just before the break.
However, Chhattisgarh players looked to be tired towards the close of the game and started wilting under pressure.
On the other hand, a gamble by Railways team management to bring in Smruthi Radhakrishnan did wonders as the player came up with three three-pointers to ease the pressure on her team. Since then, they regrouped well to win the match and the title.
Men: Punjab 70 (Amritpal Singh 21, Talwinder Singh 17, Jagdeep Singh 17) bt Tamil Nadu 62 (Rikin Pethani 24, Saravana Rajan 5).
Women: Indian Railways 94 (Geethu Anna Jose 31, Anitha Paul Durai 19, Anju Lakra 14, Smruthi Radhakrishn 11) bt Chhattisgarh 70 ( L Deepa 20, Seema Singh 17, Kavita 17).