Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab Police, favourites to clash for the title in the 20th Federation Cup basketball tournament, qualified for the semi-finals with comfortable victories in their respective groups, at the Fr Agnel Complex in Mumbai on Thursday.
IOB won the game against Tisco in the first quarter itself and built a cushion of 15 points which the losers could never bridge. A 49-65 loss notwithstanding, Tisco showed they are men of steel by fighting back later in the competition.
Despite the loss, Tisco moved closer for a place in the last four after pounding the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in a morning match. Though the team won 76-48, Tisco will have to wait for another result to celebrate their entry into the last four.
If IOB lose against ONGC, Tisco could be denied a semi-final berth.
Punjab Police proved too good for Vijaya Bank, winning 77-51 with consistent performances from their players. Parminder Singh Sr played a crucial role in the victory, scoring 18 points for his side.
IOB jumped to a 23-9 lead in the first quarter with complete domination of the boards. In the second quarter, the youngsters from Tisco took to the court and fought hard but were left chasing IOB for the rest of the match.
In their match against ICF, Tisco were consistent on the boards and were helped largely by the awful shooting percentage of the former.
Group A: Tisco 76 (P Prakash Rao 25, Wasim Khan 21) beat ICF 48 (P Balaji 19, Sikkander Oli Rana 13) HT: 50-27.
ONGC 78 (Desraj 29, Suresh Ranot 16, Nishant Kumar 13) beat ICF 50 (Abdul Khan 14) HT: 44-24.
IOB 65 (S Sridhar 17, Sundar 11, Shabbir Ahmed 12) beat Tisco 49 (T Prakash Rao 17, Ramsare Yadav 18) HT; 39-24.
Group B: Punjab Police 77 (Parmindr Singh Sr 18, Tripal Singh 16, Swaranjit Singh 10) beat Vijaya Bank 51 (Srinivas Gowda 18) HT: 45-26.
Group A: Chattisgarh 65 (Paramjit Singh 17) beat MP 34 (Meenakshi Rao 13) HT: 30-18.