Defending champs ONGC in final; blow for US cagers

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Mumbai, Nov 22 (UNI) Defending champions ONGC crushed Indian Railways 89-54 and Shooting for Success (US) 108-94 to seal their place in the final of the fourth All India UPL Savio Cup Basketball Tournament, Matunga here today.

Playing their third tie in the five-team men's round robin league, ONGC powered their way with a good start and dominated the first two quarters to lead 45-29 at half time.

Though Railways fought hard in the third quarter to keep afloat, ONGC, led by India star Riyazuddin and Mohit Bhandari took it away in the fourth and concluding quarter with a substantial lead.

It was the first loss for Railways' in three matches, with two wins to their credit, and left the battle for the second spot wide open, with Shooting For Success and Rest of India still in the fray, where the top two teams in the league qualify for the final.

Shooting For Success and Railways though had a better chance of making it to the championship round with a similar record, while Rest's chances are bleak with two defeats and a win.

But ONGC dented the chances of Shooting For Success, following a thrilling 108-94 win in their fourth and concluding league tie, which left Indian Railways with the best chance to make it to the final.

The US team kept the pace and ran the formidable ONGC close, as the defending champions led 48-44 at half time. But ONGC snatched the third quarter at 27-9 that left the US cagers bewildered.

Shooting For Success though did not give up, they battled their way back into the match with a late challenge in the fourth quarter as power forward Brandon Thomas fired 31 points and professional David Jones scored 29 including a remarkable seven three-pointers.

But the ONGC's huge advantage in the third quarter proved decisive as Shooting For Success fell short in a thrilling climax.

RESULTS : Men: ONGC 89 (Riyazuddin 18, Mohit Bhandari 17, Anup 13) bt Indian Rlys 64 (Joginder Singh 15, Harpal Singh 14, Vishesh 11). HT: 45-29.

ONGC 108 (Trideep Rai 24, Anup 15, Suresh 11, Riyazuddin 10) bt Shooting For Success (Brandon Thomas 31, David Jones 29, Naveen Sridhar 10, Nikolas Summers 9). HT: 48-44.


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