In an exciting finale to eight days of mesmerising basketball at the Don Bosco–Matunga in Mumbai, Southern Railway (Women) and Indian Railways (Men) pulled off impressive victories to hoist the sixth edition of the United Phosphorous Limited (UPL) All India Savio Cup on Sunday, January 30th. Southern Railway relied on the talents of legendary Geethu Anna Jose to help beat Chhattisgarh in the Women’s final, 76-66. In the Men’s game, National Champions Indian Railways rallied behind an explosive game by Vishesh Bhriguvanshi as they pulled an improbable 91-79 upset over the strong American side, Shooting For Success (SFS).
For his consistent dominance throughout the competition, Bhriguvanshi was named player of the tournament. Anju Lakra, the Chhattisgarh captain, took the honour in the Women’s division.
In a tournament that has been gathering momentum and fan-following over the past few years, the Savio Cup 6 featured six Men’s teams (Indian Railways, SFS, IOB Chennai, Services, Punjab, Maharashtra) and four Women’s teams (Southern Railway, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka) who played in a league system from January 23-29th, with the final held on January 30th.
Trailing at the end of the first quarter in the Women’s final, Geethu, Anitha P., Renjini Peter, and the rest of the Southern Railway squad began to turn the game around against Chhattisgarh. Geethu led the game with 29 points while Anitha and Peter added 16 each for Railway as they won by 10 points. For Chhattisgarh, star players Pushpa M (27) and Anju Lakra (20) shined in the final.
Undefeated thus far, American side SFS were strong favourites to win the Men’s final as they faced the Indian Railways side who had won the National Championship in New Delhi a few weeks ago. Instead, Railways kept the game close in a face-paced, back-and-forth match-up. Trailing by two at the end of the third quarter, Railways played their strongest basketball behind Vishesh 33), Yadiwinder Singh (20) and Gagandeep Singh (16) to stand as 91-79 winners. Terry Fields (29) was the high man for SFS.
The winning teams in both divisions were rewarded Rs. 50,000 and the runners-up with Rs. 25,000.
A dunk competition was also held on the penultimate day of the Savio Cup, which was won by Terry Fields of SFS. Amjyot Singh (Punjab) and Anwar Ferguson (SFS) finished second and third respectively.
Best Players Awards