October 27, 2014

Thiruvanthapuram (Women) and Ernakulum (Men) retain their titles at 59th Kerala State Basketball Championship

After six days of intense basketball action at the 59th Kerala State Basketball Championship for Men and Women in Aluva, the cream rose to the top once again. On the tournament's exciting final day at Aluva's temporarily-built Carmel Club indoor stadium, the reigning champs from last year - Thiruvanathapuram (Women) and Ernakulum (Men) - both defended their crowns to lift the Kerala state titles.

Thiruvanathapuram's Women's side were led by Indian international Jeena PS as well as rising star Stephy Nixon. After last year's triumph, Thiruvanathapuram met familiar foes in the final once more - Palakkad - marking it the third consecutive year that these two teams had played each other in the tournament's finale. The match was evenly contested in the first quarter but Jeena (23) Grima Merlin Varghese (16) did enough to help Thiruvanathapuram pull away to a massive 47-24 lead. Thiruvanathapuram held on to their comfortable advantage, and despite a 16-point performance by Palakkad's Neenumol PS, went on to win the game 58-47.

The Men's final was also a rematch in it's third year running, between Ernakulum and Thiruvanathapuram, and Ernakulum were bidding to win the contest for the third year in a row. But unlike last year, this was no cakewalk for the holding champs. Boosted by their young talents like Arjun GK (18) and Umesh Krishnan (16), Thiruvanathapuram took an early lead and were up by 38-31 at halftime. But Ernakulum chipped away at the advantage in the second half and made a spectacular fourth quarter comeback to take the lead and secure a 69-62 victory for a three-peat of titles. Shinumon Augustine and Monish Wilson scored 18 and 16 points respectively to help Ernakulum in their triumph.

Thiruvanathapuram's duo of Jeena PS (Women) and Umesh Krishnan (Men) were adjudged to be the best players of the tournament and handed the P S Viswappan Gold Medal. The award of most promising player - named in memorial of P Paremeswaran Pillai - was handed to Thiruvanathapuram's Grima Merlin Varghese (Women) and Ernakulum's Nikhil KR (Men).

This year's Lifetime Achievement award name din honour of PC Thomas (former Coach, international referee, and technical officer of Kerala State Sports Council) was handed by the Kerala Basketball Association to PP Varghese, the secretary of the association, in recognition for his achievement in the field of basketball.

Earlier in the day, Thrissur had no problem dominating Ernakulum en route to a 48-29 victory and the bronze medal in the Women's division. The Men's bronze medal game was won by Kollam, who defeated Palakkad 58-38 behind 16 points each by Rahul Krishnan and SS Deepu. Palakkad's Shabu Kumar also added 16 in the loss.

The best performers of the championship will comprise of the state team to represent Kerala at India's Senior National Basketball Championship.

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