Puttalam BA took the lead in the 1st quarter led by Dilshan Silva who scored the bulk of the points for them in that period. They claimed the first passage of play 10-18. Kandy BA managed to climb back into the game in the 2nd quarter narrowing the deficit to 4 points by half time (29-25).
Salin Udayanga, Kasun Shamal and Eranda stepped their game up a few notches to keep the team from the hill country at bay and put on a 18-8 run in the 3rd period. Down 14 points, Kandy BA put on a full court trap defence which worked effectively and they started quickly closing the distance.
With 1:49 minutes Kandy BA had come as close as 59-55 and looked like they might turn it around, but Kandy BA’s failure to convert up to 3 open lay-ups and letting Puttalam BA score via fast breaks on the other end hurt their come-back attempt as Puttalam extended the lead to 10 towards the end of the match winning the game 67-57 and being crowned the champions of Division 2 Men’s Senior Nationals.
Sadun, Hansaka and Azzir top scored for Kandy with 16, 13 and 11 points respectively while H. Eranda top scored for Puttalm BA with 15 points followed by Dilshan Silva and Salin Udayanga wiith 14 points apiece.
Final scores: Puttalam BA 67 vs. Kandy BA 57
Top scorer: Sadun 16 Points (Kandy BA)
Lindamulage Himal Ranjan Silva (Coach, Puttalam District) – Winning team
“Although we are representing Puttalam BA, our team primarily consists of players from Joseph Vaz. We would like to extend our heart-felt gratitude to Mr. Ajith Kuruppu for all the help he has given us right through out the years in getting us reach this point. We have 3-4 players playing for SL Army and a few U-19 players as well. We had to go on this journey on our own with very limited resources. Our performances at the previous division 3 senior nationals, U-20 tournament at Trincomalee and our boys’ performances at the schools level all paved the way to this victory. If we are promoted to the A Division (Division 1) we will be ready to face that challenge too. We would also like to thank thepapare.com for promoting us and telling our story to the country. Our school players from Joseph Vaz will take this experience going forward into the schools tournament.”
Kasun Shamal (Captain, Puttalam BA) – Winning team
“We did not win this championship because of the heroics of one or 2 players, but we achieved this due to the performance of the entire team. We will continue this momentum going into the up-coming tournaments.”
Ranura Nanayakkara and Anuradha (Coach, Kandy BA) – Losing team
“The temperature in Colombo is much hotter than in Kandy which had an impact on our team. We were the defending champions and came into retain the title and we are disappointed in falling short. There were many young players in our team who can take great experience from this tournament going into their school tournaments. We will return next time to reclaim our title”.
Sandun Warathenna (Captain, Kandy BA) – Losing team
“Our 1st round-matches were played at Kandy and shifting to Cololmbo had a big adverse impact on our game play. As a team we came into this game from Kandy with a lot of expectations. Our opposition team gave a very good fight so hats off to Puttalam BA. One of our key players Lahiru Perera could not make it to the match today. We know what mistakes we did as a team and as individuals, we will rectify them and come back better in the upcoming tournaments