HNB men made a spectacular entrance to Mercantile big League basketball when they beat the power packed Sampath Bank team comprising six National players and four National Youth players by 85 points to 78 in the final of the Mercantile Services Basketball Association, Eighth Ram Ratnavale Memorial Shield knock out Tournament, under lights at the Otter Aquatic Club Courts on Thursday.
In the semi-finals, HNB eliminated the defending Champions, Dialog Axiata 64/55 while Sampath Bank got rid of 2011 runners-up, DFCC Group 65/59.
HNB superbly led by Nirmitha Weerasekera clearly dominated the first three quarters, running into a daunting 24/5 score at the end of the first quarter and maintaining the same pace at half time, 40/23.
The HNB win was spear headed by a stunning performances by Devon J. Rebert (28 points) and Roshan Fernando (25 points)
Deservedly, Rebert was adjudged as the man-of-the-final and Roshan Fernando as the Man-of-the-tournament. The top shooters for Sampath Bank were Chamath Dhanawansa (25) and Mithila Abeysekera (27) HNB bagged an elusive “double” when their women’s team led by Umanga de Zoysa, retained the “A” division title with a heart stopping 56/54 win over Nations Trust Bank, the Final was played prior to the men’s Final. NTB led 28/27 at half time.
HNB’s match winning shooters were, National player, Kumarine Silva (20), Dilani Fernando and Umanga de Zoysa (11 each)
Skipper, Niroshini Paiva (18), Shanika Jayasekera (10), Aishanie Samarakoon (10) and Wathsala Dananjali (10) played their hearts out for NTB. Dilani Fernando (HNB) was adjudged as the most outstanding player of the tournament.
Results of the other divisions (all finals) Women’s “B” division: Mobitel beat HSBC 61/54.
Player of the tournament, Prabanthi Rupasinghe from Mobitel.
Men’s “E” division : Carsons Group beat Commercial Credit “B” 54/27.
Player of the tournament, Priyan de Mel from Carsons Group
Men’s “D” division: LB Finance PLC beat NTB “B” 81/54.
Player of the tournament, Eran Naushan from LBF.
Men’s “C” division: John Keells Group beat MAS Holdings 68/55.
Player of the tournament Lakshan Samarsinghe from JK.
Men’s “B” Division: HSBC beat Sri Lankan Airlines 64/50.
Player of the tournament Shanaka Gunawardena from HSBC.
The Chief Guests at the finals and awards were Col. Vikum Siriwardena, former General Secretary SLBF, President, Col. District BA, Vice President, MSBA and Chairman, SL Army Basketball & his wife Aasha.