Mumbai: For the first time in the history of the tournament, several former NBA players will feature in the 8th Savio Cup All India Basketball Tournament for men & women, sponsored by Tridhatu Realty India and United Phosphorous Ltd, and organized by the Don Bosco Recreation Centre at the Don Bosco High School, Matunga from December 2 to 9, 2012.
The former NBA players, Anthony Bonner, Paul Grant, and Jerome Williams, will represent Sportspower, a team from the U.S., which will vie for the winner’s purse of Rs 2 lakh along with the formidable men’s teams from India, ONGC, Indian Railway, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Their experience of having played in the world’s biggest professional basketball league will generate significant excitement for India’s premier tournament in the basketball calendar.
Grant played in the NBA between 1998 and 2004 as a center for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. Bonner’s NBA career, which spanned six seasons, saw him appear on the rosters of the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic. Williams enjoyed the longest NBA stint of the three, as the 6ft, 9in former power forward played nine seasons for Detroit Pistons, where he earned the nickname “The Junkyard Dog”, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
In addition to competing in the event, the three former NBA players will take time out to be part of NBA Cares clinics for players and coaches on Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8. Grant and Bonner will assist Troy Justice, Sr. Director Basketball Operations- India, NBA for a clinic at Don Bosco School on December 7, and will be joined by Williams to conduct a clinic for local youth on Saturday.
Apart from the international flavor, this year’s edition once again has attracted the best basketball teams in India, in both the Men’s and Women’s categories, as the tournament will serve as a prelude to the Nationals that shall be held in Ludhiana starting December 27, 2012.
The four-team Women’s category includes Southern Railway, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
As always, the competition shall feature a host of International/ India stars including Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Riyazuddin and Yadwinder from ONGC, Geetu Anna Jose and Anitha Pauldurai from Southern Railway, Anju Lakra from Chattisgarh, Mihir Pandey and Abhilek Paul from Tamil Nadu, as well as some rising stars from Maharashtra.
This year the Savio Cup shall include a segment for the Youth Edition (Under 20) in addition to the Men and Women’s editions. The Youth Edition shall comprise 6 teams from different clubs across Mumbai.
This year, too, the tournament shall be played on State-of-the-Art Terraflex courts and held under floodlights in a specially erected stadium.
The Tournament shall be played on round robin basis in both Men’s and Women’s sections and in a knock-out format in the Youth Edition. The viewers’ attention and interest shall be captured and maintained throughout the tournament with several contests, activities, dance performances and exciting gifts distributed among the audience!
Following the round robin league the top two teams shall qualify for the final. In addition to the winners’ purse of Rs 2 lakh for the men and Rs 1 lakh for the women, there shall be the ‘Player of the Tournament’ awards in the Men, Women and Youth categories for exemplary performance throughout the tournament.
In addition to the matches, as a special attraction the SLAM DUNK and THREE POINT SHOOTING competition will be held on the December 7, 2012. Proceeds from this tournament will be used to support the Night Study Classes for the poor children of the neighborhood and to develop infrastructure in the school.