PANAJI: Hosts Goa rode on a superb team effort to upset Telangana 86-56 and keep alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals in the men’s basketball 5×5 competition of the 37th National Games on Tuesday.
Gaurav Chandel and Jesjua Pinto scores 21 points each while the experienced Mahipal Singh Bhati contributed 17 points to the tally as the home team gave their fans at the Manohar Parrikar Indoor Stadium in Navelim something to cheer for.
The home team knew that they needed a win to stay alive in the competition, having lost their opening Pool A clash against Delhi and the determination showed from the way they approach the match.
Goa kept things tight and did not allow Telangana to make easy inroads towards their ring.
This opened up avenues for them on the counter and they took a 32-19 lead in the first quarter itself. The second quarter was a tight affair with Goa not willing to take any risk as Delhi had turned things around against them after a strong start. But once Goa survived that period, they were confident of staving off their opposition.
“We knew that Telangana didn’t have very strong shooters. So, we decided to focus on defence and hurt them on the counter,” said Goa’s Vivek Goti.
The hosts still have their task cut out in the quest to win a medal as they take on the formidable Punjab in their final Pool A clash on Wednesday and only a victory would assure them a spot in the semifinals.
“On average, Punjab players are a lot taller than our team. We will have to focus a lot on defence in order to beat them and also convert a lot of three pointers,” Goti added.
Punjab were runners up in the last edition of the National Games in Gujarat and have already won their first two Pool A matches to be at the top of standings. The women’s team was, however, knocked out after they suffered their second consecutive loss when they went down 82-35 against West Bengal.