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Punjab suffer their second successive defeat

Rohtak, Aug 3 (UNI) Indian Army recorded their second success by beating Punjab with a 86-70 margin on the second day of the Ist All India Basketball Tournament for Men at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex in Sector 6 here today. The tournament is being organised by the Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH) under the aegis of the Haryana State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India.
Day 2 action began with Punjab taking on Indian Army. After a strongly contested first three quarters, Indian Army broke away in the last 10 minutes to go 2-0, while Punjab are now 0-2 and almost certain to not progress to the knockout stages, with one league match still remaining.
Result: Indian Army (Gopal Ram 21, Ramesh 18, Amandeep 9) bt Punjab (Mandeep Singh 18, Sahil 14, Rahul Mehla 12) 86-70 [21-24, 22-20, 26-13, 17-13]
Late last night, after Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Dehradun’s opening win of the tournament, Income Tax-Chennai, Indian Railway and Indian Army all posted wins on Day 1.
Arguably the most exciting match was left for last, as Income Tax, Chennai took on the combined Haryana team in a Group A clash. Playing with only 7 members in their squad, Income Tax, Chennai had to dig deep and utilize every ounce of its energy against a deep Haryana lineup. India internationals Rikin Pethani and Akilan Pari, who only just returned from Taiwan after participating in the 38th William Jones Cup Tournament, showed why they are among the nation’s best. Centre Rikin Pethani was nearly unstoppable in the paint, scoring a mammoth 31 points, while point guard Akilan Pari beautifully controlled the tempo of the match.
Haryana led early (20-16) at the end of the first quarter, and again at the half (43-40), mostly due to the singular brilliance of Vinay, who too has represented India. But the tides, which had been turning Chennai’s way, drowned Haryana in the third, as the taxman went in a 23-11 third quarter run. Now Income Tax led 66-52 going into the fourth. Another Haryana rally followed in the final 10 minutes, but Income Tax held on for the 83-76 victory. Income Tax’s Akilan Pari was named man of the match.
Income Tax, Chennai (Rikin Pethani 31, Akilan 15) bt Haryana (Vinay 25, Deepak 14, Sunil 13) 83-76 [16-20, 24-23, 23-12, 19-21]
Indian Railway bt Punjab 77-67
Group B teams Indian Railway and Punjab went head on in the penultimate match on Day 1. The Indian Railway side, which features multiple players from Haryana were taken aback when Punjab’s second string side comprising many youngsters from the famous Ludhiana Basketball Academy took an early lead of 22-17 at the end of the first quarter. Railway though stormed right back in the second to nose ahead 39-35 at half time. In the third quarter it was more of the same as playmaking guard, and eventual man of the match Himanshu Sharma marshalled his team to a commanding 60-46 lead at the end of the third quarter, holding Punjab to just 11 points in the period. Punjab’s never-say-die attitude came to the fore in the 4th, but by then it was a little too late, as Railway posted its first win of the tournament.
Indian Railway (Gagan 22, Harmanpreet 12) bt Punjab (Rahul 18, Gurvinder S 14) 77-67 [17-22, 22-13, 21-11, 18-22]
Indian Army bt Basketball Club of Haryana (BCH) 87-60
Similar to the ONGC, Dehradun team before them, Indian Army pulled away in the second half against the energetic hosts Basketball Club of Haryana to win their opening Group B game. Amandeep Singh of Army was named man of the match. Basketball Club of Haryana did well to keep punching above their weight in the first twenty minutes, but the seasoned Indian Army pulled away when it mattered the most, building on a 40-31 lead at halftime to finally win 87-60. For BCH, guards Pravin and Aaditya top scored with 13 and 10 points respectively.
Indian Army (Dalip 18, Amandeep Singh 12, Pramod 11, Ramesh 11) bt Basketball Club of Haryana (Pravin 13, Aaditya 10) 87-60 [21-13, 19-18, 19-13, 28-16].
UNI XC VS NS0002
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