For five days, eight of India's top basketball clubs and states gathered together in Bengaluru for the 2nd Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty All India Basketball Tournament, an invitational championship held at the city's Sri Kantaveera Stadium. Eventually, the tournament's finale pitted together Chennai's Income Tax and Dehradun's ONGC in a memorable clash. Income Tax's impressive first half effort set the tone for them, as they outlasted ONGC to win the final 70-56 and lift the winner's trophy.
Tipping off on October 7, the tournament was organized and sponsored by Vijaya Bank and held in the memory of the Late Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty, a longstanding former Chairman who was instrumental in the growth of the bank through the 60s and 70s. It was held under the auspices of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and the Karnataka State Basketball Association (KSBBA).
ONGC were in the final of the tournament for the second consecutive year after finishing as runners-up in the tournament's debut a year ago. Despite having veteran international big names in the squad, ONGC were missing star Indian center Amrit Pal Singh (playing professionally in Japan) and had to contend with an injured Yadwinder Singh. Early in the game, a scuffle got Yadwinder, ONGC teammate Murali Krishan and Income Tax's Ravi Kumar all throw out of the game.
Income Tax made the most of their slight advantage by taking a huge early lead and stretching it out to 44-24 by halftime. Despite the best efforts of India captain and ONGC's Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (24) in the second half, Income Tax did enough to keep their lead secure and win 70-56. Ram Kumar (22) and international big man Rikin Pethani (19) led the way for the winning side.
Earlier in the day, home team Vijaya Bank - led by Anil Kumar (26) and Arvind (19) - outlasted Thiruvanathapuram's Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in a highly competitive clash to win the bronze medal in the tournament. KSEB's Alvin Baby scored 32 points and helped his squad lead a charge back in the game's second half, but Vijaya Bank did just enough to win the game 65-61.
Final: Income Tax (Ram Kumar 22, Rikin Pethani 19) bt ONGC (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 24, Riyazuddin 14) 70-56 [20-10, 24-14, 17-19, 9-13].
- 1. Income Tax
- 2. ONGC
- 3. Vijaya Bank