Friday, 27 June 2014 00:00
Fans witnessed a scintillating display of basketball at Henry Pedris Stadium last Saturday. The event, with much aplomb and renown, was the final encounter at the Avant-Garde Basketball Championship. The encounter between Avant A Team and HSC Blues, and the tentative one-point victory for the winning team won both praise and disappointment.
HSC Blues clinched the victory, claiming 58 points as against the 57 that Avant A managed to clinch. The encounter was marked ceremonially by various junctures, tentative encounters and plenty of excitement. The champions of the match received a cash bonanza of Rs. 500,000, while the runners-up received Rs. 250,000. Consolation prizes of Rs. 150,000 were also given.
Looking back at the matches in retrospect, the final encounter drew up an expected conclusion. HSC Blues had been recording victories that surpassed the gains gotten by them in the four quarters, with scores of 19, 11, 19 and 9 against Avant’s 9, 21, 17 and 10.
The acknowledged Man of the Finals was Roshan Randima who led his team HSC Blues to a nail-biting win. Player of the tournament was Mithila Abeysekera of HSC Blues. The winning streak towards the mid-point in the match belonged to Avant A, but after the jubilation of the first half, gains were made by their opposing team, which guaranteed victory at first sight, though many commentators acknowledged it was a match which could have gone either way. Incidentally this was the third consecutive winning final of HSC Blues under Captain Nilanga Wickremaratne.
Philip Farrel scored 27 for Avant, taking the overall tally to 198, becoming the highest scorer of the tournament; while Mithila Abeysekera got 18 for HSC Blues.
All in all, the match ended on a jubilant note, and commentators were, in the final analysis, quite sure of the fact that it had been, all in all, a tournament much seen and much applauded. While Avant A depended heavily on Philip Farrell, a renowned foreign player, and HSC Blues on six top-notch Sri Lankan players, the final victor at the end of the game was the spirit of the game itself.