Tribhuvan Army Club got their second win over South Siders while Innovative earned a surprise win against home side at the penultimate day of the BMK Cup Basketball Tournament.
All sides came out with a strong line up, unlike the last few days where bottom three teams were missing key players at one point or other. Both matches had good fight in them — a good build up for the finale tomorrow.
Siders vs Army
It was a must win game for Army to remain in the title fight. While for Siders, their loss yesterday to minnows BMK meant they had to come up with some reaction. They went on to lose but they more or less made up for the abysmal performance towards the end of their previous match against BMK.
Army had proved they were better of the two a few days ago and they yet again started well to upen up a margin of 10 points in the first quarter. But with Siders having their key players, Subrat and Minesh back in the starting line up they had to fight harder than they would’ve wanted since they have a tough match against Bangladesh Navy in the finale. Understandably, Army rested one of their big men, which gave Siders the chance to catch up and closed the gap to just 4 points before the half time.
However, once Army brought back Ajay Manandhar they got the momentum back. And the other Army big man, Bikram Joshi, steadily added to the scoreboard to finish as highest scorer.
Army top shooter, Rabin Khatri, wasn’t in the fold much probably saving his strength for the finale against Bangladesh Navy. But Sadhish Pradhan was there to make up for it who went on to score 18 individual points.
Final score: Siders 80-94 Army (13-23, 29-23, 18-26, 20-22).
Today’s win puts the Army one win behind the league leaders Bangladesh Navy. Army will need to win by at least 9 points to secure the top spot (if the standings are based on head to head record).
Innovative vs BMK
Coming on the back of a impressive win against the NeBA national champions in their previous fixture and having defeated Innovative in their previous meeting; BMK were favorites take this one.
But things were tight from the start as the two exchanged lead and ended the first quarter with BMK leading 20-15. Bivek and Saswat had a great game just as they did against Siders but any hope of pulling away from their opponent hit a snag with Sumanga and Ajay Kunwar keeping up with the scores for Innovative in the second quarter.
In addition, Ashish Basnet who had been relatively quiet throughout this tournament was back in form adding on the scores as well as winning vital rebounds.
Innovative went on to open a margin of 11 points in the third quarter but they were caught up. Scores remained neck and neck for most part of the fourth quarter and few minutes before the final whistle only one point separated the two with Innovative on lead. But at this point BMK were starting to lose their nerve. BMK’s problem towards the end was getting back the possession. They tried their best but Innovative held on to win by 3 points.
Sumanga Bogati finished the game as highest scorer for Innovative with 16 points. While Ashish Basnet and Ankit Bhandari managed to get in the double digit scoreline.
For the other side, Bivek Shrestha scored 23 points followed by Bikash Gurung adding 19 points while Prazun and Saswat also managed get in the double digit scores. But that wasn’t enough for them to secure the win.
Final score: Innovative 70-67 BMK (15-20, 17-14, 18-08, 20-25).
Innovative win puts the the bottom three in contention for a possible three way tie. If Innovative manage to pull of another surprise against South Siders tomorrow, all three teams — Siders, BMK and Innovative — will have two wins each. Current head to head record between these three teams stand at Siders +16; BMK-2 and Innovative -14.
Please note what system (head to head or the full league results) will be used for the league standings calculations is not clear at this point.