IOB (Chennai) in finalAugust 31, 2017
Prasanna Venkatesh (24 points) and Sivabalan (17) went full throttle at the start as strong contender Indian Overseas Bank (Chennai) defeated Vijaya Bank (Bengaluru) 74-62 in the first semifinal of the 53rd all India basketball tournament for men here on Wednesday.
IOB will take on Indian Army (Pune), which came out all guns blazing to oust first-time entrant Punjab Police 73-65 in the other semifinal. In the first semifinal, the Chennai men used the floor well right through. They took a few minutes to screen its opponent and once they did there was no turning back. Sivabalan and Venkatesh played like men in a hurry and were all over the court. They were so quick in the first two quarters that the Bengaluru men desperately looked for ways to cut down their pace but in vain.
The IOB defence was equally good and the Vijaya Bank men, after spending much time scoring a few points from inside the semi-circle, had to find another route.
They operated from the outside and got some points but before they could up their scoring rate, the IOB men came up with an equally good reply. Vineeth Ravi Mathew played the pivotal role to perfection for IOB.
After having secured a 42-22 lead at the halfway mark, IOB tested its bench. Vijaya Bank knew it was time to attack and went flat out through Karthikeyan (17) and Anil Kumar (16) but IOB checked its defence and played cool and cautious to seal a place in the final.
The Punjab side, with India stars Amjyot Singh and Amritpal Singh in its ranks, was expected to fire but the Army men took control of the situation from the start to emerge a comfortable winner.
The results: Semifinal: IOB (Chennai) 74 (Prasanna Venkatesh 24, Sivabalan 17, Vineeth Ravi Mathew 10) bt Vijaya Bank (Bengaluru) 62 (Karthikeyan 17, Anil Kumar 16); Indian Army (Pune) 73 (Gopal Ram 21, Issac T. Thomas 16, Jeethender Singh 10) bt Punjab Police 65 (Amjyot Singh 24, Rajbir Singh 10).
League: Customs (Chennai) 79 (Mayilraj 21, Dinesh16, Justin Gnanaraj 11) bt KSEB (Kerala) 70 (Gokul 19, Albin Baby 18); Punjab Police 113 (Amjyot Singh 18, Gurjinder Singh 17, Ranbir Singh 15) bt RCF (Karputhala) 71 (Prakash Mishra 32, Rajan Sharma 10, Harmandeep Singh 10); IOB 75 (A. Aravind 20, M. Jeevanantham 18, Prasanna Venkatesh 15) bt Indian Army (Pune) 71 (Gopal Ram 24, Issac T. Thomas 18, Vicky 23) .