May 17, 2010

Prince and Super Girls win inaugural Mastan League

Team Prince and Super Girls won the inaugural Mastan League championship in the Men's and Women's division respectively at the Mastan YMCA in Mumbai. Led by superstar Geethu Anna Jose, Super Girls beat Wonder Girls in the final 80-59. The Men's final was a closer affair, with Prince defeating Soldiers 78-70.

The Mastan League success can potentially be a great boost for the future of basketball in India. Held from May 8-15th, the league was organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and is India's first ever fully professional basketball league. 80 of the top men and 40 of the top women players in India were divided into 12 teams (eight for men, four for women) that played against each other in the league. The players received a fixed match fee, and the total prize money was of 14 lakhs.

The finalists benefited from the sponsors, who decided at the last moment to double the total prize money for the winning team to Rs 1 lakh, and for the runner-up team to Rs 75,000.

Geethu Anna Jose scored 35 points in the final, going against her international compatriots Harjeet Kaur and P. Anitha in the opposing squad. Prince, with stars such as Gangandeep Singh and Mohit Bhandari were able to overcome Soldiers in the men's final.

In the semis, Super Girls had defeated Power Girls 70-60 and Prince had defeated Riders 77-60. Soldiers entered the final by defeating Warriors in a high-scoring match-up, 97-85.

Dinesh CV of Soldiers and Akanksha Singh of Power Girls won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards for the league.

The small Mastan league could be a significant step in the direction of making a NBA/IPL style professional league in India as it helped to provide the players a league-like environment for the week. Many other of the countries top male and female players such as Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Sambhaji Kadam, S. Robinson, Mihir Pandey, Talwinderjit Singh “TJ” Sahi, Trideep Rai, Riyazuddin, Prashanti Singh, and others took part. League organisers also did a good job of dividing the teams as equally as possible, balancing the number of junior players and experienced faces on each squad.

"This is a very good idea to promote basketball in India," said Dishant Shah, a junior player who got the opportunity to play for Team Lions in the tournament, "The tournament has gone well and everyone has got a chance to showcase their skills.

A slam dunk competition and a three-point competition were also held on Friday, May 14th.

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