After eight days of the highest-level of basketball India had to offer, the last teams standings offered some familiar faces. Held in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, the 69th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women concluded on Saturday, January 12 with the finales. Indian Railways, the reigning women's champions, repeated their triumph again this year with a 88-71 victory over Tamil Nadu. The star-studded Punjab Men squad crept pass Services 74-65 to win the gold in their division.
The 'Senior Nationals', organised by the Gujarat State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), featured 32 Men's and 27 Women's squads from state and units across India. The tournament was held at Bhavnagar's Sisdar Sports Complex and tipped off on January 5.
The Men's finale was a closer affair most of the way, featuring two strong and gritty squads, Punjab and Services. Both teams remained neck to neck most of the way, with Punjab holding only a slim 53-51 lead after three quarters. Punjab, who had shocked holders TN in overtime on Friday, found their extra surge in the fourth quarter at the final. The duo of Arshpreet Singh Bhullar (24) and Jagdeep Singh Bains (19) helped see them through to the 74-65 win. India's international point guard Joginder Singh led Services with 26.
Punjab's Amritpal Singh, the international star who recovered from a serious injury to star in this tournament, was named the Men's MVP. The Women's MVP award went to Tamil Nadu's unstoppable post-threat Pushpa Senthil Kumar.
This was Indian Railways' incredible 29th title in the Nationals, while Punjab won theirs for the seventh time - and the first since Chennai 2011.
Tamil Nadu finished third in the Men's division with a 84-65 with over Karnataka, led by Muin Bek Hafeez (20), Justin Joseph (19), and Hariram Ragupathy (17). Jitender scored 17 for Karnataka while Rahul Sarathy added 16. The Women's third place was a high-octane matchup between Kerala and Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh's giant player Poonam Chaturvedi dropped 41 points, but Kerala survived to a 7--73 win led by their national team veterans Jeena Scaria (21) and Poojamol Kochuparambu (18).
- Women: Indian Railways (Rajapriyadarshani Rajaganapathi 23, Navaneetha PU 16, Ramya 13) bt. Tamil Nadu (Sathya 21) 88-71 [18-23, 24-17, 27-15, 19-16].
- Men: Punjab (Arshpreet Singh Bhullar 24, Jagdeep Singh Bains 19, Amritpal Singh 15) bt. Services (Joginder Singh 26) 74-65 [22-19, 15-14, 17-18, 20-14].
- 1. Indian Railways
- 2. Tamil Nadu
- 3. Kerala
- 4. Chhattisgarh
- 5. Telangana
- 1. Punjab
- 2. Services
- 3. Tamil Nadu
- 4. Karnataka
- 5. Uttarakhand