Robin Khatri inspired NASA International College edged Premier College 63-61 to claim the first Sachindra Memorial Men’s Open Basketball Tournament here today.
In the championship match held at the Nepal Commerce Campus premises, Premier managed to go into the second half with a one-point lead but Robin ran riot on their lose defence thereafter scoring at will to hand his team a well deserved victory.
Premier included five national players — Sadish Pradhan, Rajeev Joshi, Yukta Ram Bhakta Mathema, Bikram Joshi and Vinod Shrestha — in their set and they opened with 13-11 lead.
NASA, however, cut the deficit in the second quarter scoring 15 to that of 14 from Premier, whose defence crumbled in the third period. Robin poured in a three-pointer scoring nine points in the third quarter that saw NASA go into the decider with 45-40 lead. NASA built a nine-point cushion halfway to the final quarter making it 51-42 and from there on there was no stopping for the eventual champions.
With 1:44 minutes left on the clock, Premier — who added more points than NASA in the final quarter — managed to come close to NASA’s feet stealing time through intentional fouls with ‘flag on’ on their side but by then it was too late for them. Premier scored 21 points in the fourth period, while NASA added 18. Robin ended up with a match-high 28 points, while tournament Most Valuable Player Rupak Gurung netted 12 points.
Sadish scored 19 and Rajeev posted 12 points for the losing side. The tournament was organised in the memory of Sachindra Shrestha – a Tara air pilot who lost in life in a crash on December 5.