Mumbai: An unbeaten ONGC, the defending champions will clash with Sportspower, USA in the men’s final, while Maharashtra will take on defending champions Southern Railway in the women’s final of the 8th Savio Cup All India Basketball Tournament.
In the final league matches at the Don Bosco School, Matunga on Saturday, ONGC men outplayed Tamil Nadu 78-63, while the Maharashtra women defeated Chattisgarh 76-66.
It was ONGC’s fourth win from as many matches and once again it was their overall superiority and experience that same them cruise through against the youthful, talented Tamil Nadu side. The trio of captain Vishesh Brighuvanshi, Yadwinder Singh and Amtirpal Singh once again played the major role in ONGC’s victory. Brighuvanshi, who also plays the role of ball handler and is the most complete player in the tournament, scored 19 points, while Yadwinder (20) and the tallest player in the side Amritpal scored 22
In a late match on Friday, which was a precursor to the final, ONGC eked out a fighting two-point win over Sportspower, USA, which will definitely give them the psychological edge going into the final. However, ONGC will be without the services of sharpshooter Trideep Rai, who was stretchered out with an ankle injury and Sportspower will be bolstered by the entry of Jerome ‘Junkyard Dog” Williams, who played for sides like Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks before announcing his premature retirement from the NBA.
Swamped in the first quarter by a speedy ONGC, the experienced US side rallied to dominate the next two sessions, but flagged again in the last quarter to lose narrowly. Much credit to the ONGC players, riding on captain Vishesh Brighuvanshi’s brilliance, who not only withstood the physical play of the Americans but also held their own in the skills department.
The women’s final will feature Maharashtra against defending champion Southern Railway, the state eves making the title round with an all-win record, among their scalps also Southern Railway.
In Saturday’s league encounter, Maharashtra scored a 10-point win over Chattisgarh, with Manisha Dange and Renu Maurya excelling their 76-66 victory.
Men: ONGC 78 (Amritpal Singh 22, Yadwinder Singh 21, Vishesh Brighuvanshi 19) bt Tamil nadu 63 (Amjyot Singh 20, C V Dinesh 12)
ONGC 83 (Vishesh Brighuvanshi 27, Amritpal Singh 19) bt Sportspower (USA) 81 (Terrance Thomas 23, Anthony Bonner 17, Jim Bartalotta 16) HT 43-37. Quarter-wise scores 25-16, 18-21, 19-29, 21-15.
Women: Maharashtra 76 (Renu Maurya 18, Manisha Dange 16) bt Chattisgarh 66 (M Pushpa 24, Poona Chaturvedi 14). HT 50-49. Quarter-wise scores 26-21, 24-8, 14-22, 12-15.