Airmen fail to retreat on the Seamen`s ambush


The tenth day of the Carlton Cup Basketball championships commenced when the two armed forces set foot to battle against for victory. It was a full house at Hendry Pedris Basketball Complex.

Sri Lanka Navy counting their winning streak exerted a handsome victory over Sri Lanka Air Force with some breath taking minutes of basketball played on the court. The clock read in favour of the sailors at full time; 81-72.

Airmen having the first tap of the ball over the traditional jump-ball start had early possession of the game. Both the sides settling down in defence did not let either of the sides to take look at the basket until the third minute if the game when airmen drew first blood of the game with a mid-range jumper.  Sailors were right back at them when Asanka swished the nets from an assist dished from Dhanuka. Both the teams were equal on height and were playing good minutes of basketball until the fourth minute of the game when SLAF panicked and lost their control on defence and Navy successfully capitalised on the fact and started building on a foundation for a scoring rampage.

Seamen were passing the ball into the hands of almost everyone in every possession and that gave them the chance to create plays after plays when they ended the quarter with a three point lead.

Navy capitalising on the foundation build started off the second ten minutes of the game with a post move from Nerranja Civijic. Navy was indeed the better side tonight with immense pace in their feet which SLAF failed to handle at ease throughout the game. Rebounds for Navy were coming in handy for Navy as they used the box-out strategy and the fundamentals on higher note.  Charith and Dhanushka started dealing with the SLAF defenders with three point shots and managed to carry out 100% shooting through-out the quarter. Other than creating plays and scattering the defence all the five players on the court were driving in and drawing fouls which they converted into points on the free-throw line. Air-Force never showed signs of settling into the game during this quarter which was the mistake that they couldn`t cover up during the latter part of the game and it cost them the defeat of a crucial game. Last second three pointers from Charith helped the sailors to up-held the lead.

(Half time – Sri Lanka Navy SC – 40 Sri Lanka Air Force SC – 29)

The second phase of the match started with leaving airmen a deficit of thirty nine points to close down.  Airmen did adapt to the situation in a commendable manner but their defence was not sustainable to a high-quality pace attack from the Navy. Seamen depicted signs for tiredness in their souls and the transition from offence to defence was on a slow rate compared to the first phase of the game. This helped the Air-Force to close down the lead into a considerable amount yet the scoring of the Navy from the other end could not be halted. Perera with his dancing shoes on played some eye-catching moves on basketball when he converted the fast-breaks and his drive in layups with double clutches to avoid being blocked.  Rebounds were a con that SLAF was experiencing through the start of the game and it remained as such during the third quarter as well. Navy led the game by twenty-two points when the whistle drew curtains for the third quarter.

Charith started the party for the final ten minutes of the game off a downtown shot which swished the nets as ease to increase the lead of the seamen. Navy having tired legs was off the grid during this quarter where Air-force made a comeback but the early lead of the Navy saved the game. Rebounding started to build up numbers on the Ratmalana lad`s side but offence from Navy was still in good show though they were tired. Nerranja Cicvijic playing his role of the post player is worth of applause together with the point guard Srinath and the two forwards Dhanuka and Charith. It was a commendable effort of refereeing from the match officials where two technical fouls and goal-tending was called. Though airmen gave their heart out retreat from the sailor`s ambush the letting away the game in the second quarter wasn`t bought into restoration. Sailor`s sailed away with a handsome victory when airmen flew with tears of defeat by nine points.

(Full time – Sri Lanka Navy SC – 81 Sri Lanka Air-Force SC – 72)