Let the Victors Boast Their Achievements!

University basketball couldn’t have gotten better than it was on the final day of Inter University Basketball Championship at the University of Peradeniya. Male and female university athletes fought with such a mental fortitude to bring their universities the glory of an IUG trophy. But in the end only two could win the ultimate prize as the University of Sri Jayawardanapura and University of Colombo won the men’s and women’s championship respectively.

How cold a morning in the hill country could be, none of the morning matches of the day left the spectators to sit cold for so long. The women’s consolation final of Kelaniya vs Jaffna left them on the edge of their seats as neither team chose to give up the victory. Both teams were ready to fight for a consolation win and a third-place finish to forget the grievances of a missed final. Kelaniya started out strong but seemed a bit tired as the first half went on. Jaffna girls, taking the advantage of the lack of driving force in the Kelaniya team, lead 31-28 by the end of the second quarter. But in the third quarter, they re-entered the game being more organized and committed. In the end, Kelaniya’s attack led by Chathuri with her somewhat unorthodox playing style and Tharushi with her pace-filled fine techniques paved the way to a victory of a 56-54 scoreline. Despite how close the tie had been, only Kelaniya left with a medal to their name.

The consolation final set the bar high for the Women’s final to entertain the people on the stands once more. Japura, having beaten the third-placed Kelaniya with a remorseless 62-13 scoreline in the semifinal, and Colombo, having beaten Jaffna 48-41, started the final showing signs of yet another close encounter in the initial stages. Both teams set a high tempo to the game with their fluid tactical transitions. But by the time the second quarter ended, Colombo had bagged the title while the scoreboard showed 44-17. Japura tried so hard to do the undoable and turn the lead in their favor, but ahead of Colombo’s lethal attack, there wasn’t much they could do. It wasn’t that Japura played bad, but Colombo seemed to be a too good opponent for them to beat. So, the final whistle of the game rang as Colombo lead 71-37, a scoreline that unquestionably crowned them as the champions of Inter University Women’s Basketball.

The evening brought the heat of the final stages of men’s category as they followed the course of the nail-biting morning games. Colombo and Pera played in the consolation final hoping to secure at least the third-place medals for their respective universities. Colombo had run away with the significant lead, 14-6, in the first quarter, and appeared to be too big force for Pera to contain. But Pera, with the ever-so-rising home support shouting ‘pera pera pera’ rallied back to make sure that a medal stays home. Intimidated by the growing support or not, Colombo couldn’t regain their initial knack for attacking in the face of tight Pera defense in the latter stages of the game. And they helplessly watched as Pera boys ran away with the lead and a third place medal beating them 39-31.

The final game of the Inter University Basketball championship, the men’s final, kicked off with both the finalists, Mora and Japura, buzzing off dominant semifinal displays. Mora beat Colombo 62-45 and Japura beat Pera 59-43 as they eased their ways into the final. Once again, Mora dominated the initial phase of the game as Ayesh drove them forward with his lightning quick dribbles past the opposition. Only a minute of the first quarter was left when the scoreboard showed 10-0 in Mora’s favor—just to say how dominant they were at the beginning.

And then a familiar curse against the initial phase dominators kicked in to the Mora team as it did in the consolation final. From the second quarter onwards, Mora sometimes found it hard to string a few passes together. Japura’s Kanchana and Sanju cut opened Mora defense with some superb dribbles and their feints were too much for the Mora players to anticipate. At the end of the third quarter, Japura has gone well past the Mora scoreline leading 36-28. Mora desperately put the bodies forward hoping to overturn the lead in the final quarter which left gaping holes in the defense for Japura players to walk through and score. At a score of 54-37, the final whistle blew rousing Mora woes and Japura thrills.

Four days of scintillating university basketball battles came to an end indulging us in the wish of yet another high-quality basketball tournament in the next year’s IUC. Until then, let the victors boast their achievements and celebrate.

Article by: Anjalee Sudasinghe

Edited by: Imthadh Ahamed



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