ISLAMABAD - Defending champion Army will take on Wapda in the final of the National Basketball Championship 2015 today (Thursday).
Army registered highly convincing victory over PAF in the first semifinal, while Wapda survived a close scare against spirited HEC. Both the semifinals were played here at Hamidi Hall, Pakistan Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Army, despite fielding a second string side, were never in any sort of trouble. PAF trailed Army by just one point, as Army scored 20 and PAF 19 baskets in the first quarter. Sensing the danger Army raised tempo of their game and scored 28 baskets in the second quarter while airmen could score only 16. PAF did try to match fire-with-fire in the third quarter and managed to close the gap to just two points, as Army finished third quarter on 60 and PAF 58. But it was all PAF could gather as Army toyed with PAF players and played superb game in the fourth and final quarter to win the encounter 81-69. Niamat was top scorer for Army with 23 baskets, while Tughlab scored 16 and M Atif 15 baskets. Ahmed Jan was lone fighter for PAF who scored 31 baskets, while Prem scored 15.
In the second semi-final, Wapda survived close scare before edging HEC 74-71. Although Wapda kept the lead in all the four quarters, yet HEC was always only a step away. HEC enjoyed tremendous crowd support, who were chanting slogans in HEC favour and bucked them up which put great pressure on Wapda. The electricitymen finished the first quarter at 20, while HEC was right behind with 19 baskets. In the second quarter, Wapda scored further 19 baskets, while HEC managed 18. The third quarter saw Wapda gathering 21 more baskets while HEC adding 21 in their tally. The last quarter was a treat to watch as it was neck-n-neck battle. Wapda and HEC remained tied for last eight minutes of the final quarter. HEC were highly unlucky as their star player Suleman was sent off for 5 fouls. Wapda was leading 74-71 when M Rameez had a golden opportunity to level the score but he missed a three-pointer just by a whisker. Rameez and Zahid Asif were the outstanding HEC players, but lady luck deprived HEC of creating the upset of the tournament. The crowd rose and gave standing ovation to HEC team, who despite losing the match, won the hearts and minds of many.