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3467Basketball comes alive

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  • Sandeep Heble
    Oct 12, 2013
      Basketball comes alive
      Marcus Mergulhao, TNN

      PANAJI: Good news comes in torrent. It may not be true with everyone
      but the Goa Basketball Association (GBA) will certainly not disagree.

      For a sport, and association, that has long been a punching bag in
      good times and bad, there seems to be a sudden change in its fortunes.
      The change in guard at the helm of affairs was the new beginning but
      the recently-concluded State Basketball Championship at Don Bosco in
      the city was the one that provided for plenty of hope.

      "To be honest, I was floored not just with the response for the
      tournament but the manner in which it shaped up. Everything simply
      fell in place," said a delighted GBA president Fr Ralin de Souza.

      A record 29 teams entered their names for the championship out of
      which 27 turned up. One team in each category -- Dribblers (men) and
      Margao Basketeers ( women) -- opted out, and just as the GBA had hoped
      for, most of the Lusofonia Games probables including stalwarts like
      Daley Fernandes, Aakash Madgavkar, Amish Jain, Ashish Bhupal, Shiva
      and Lambert Godinho defied a rival Association of Goan Basketball
      diktat to make their presence felt.

      And what a tournament it was.

      "The crowd for the final was fantastic. You could see a healthy
      rivalry (between Margao and Panaji) and there were fans who wanted
      more of such events," said Fr Ralin, who since taking over the GBA a
      little over two months ago has had to duck several bouncers.

      More is certainly on the way. Ponda has made inquiries about staging a
      similar tournament, Don Bosco Oratory (DBO) has lined-up a
      Inter-College tournament for next month, and then Margao and Siolim
      will take turns to organize an All Goa tournament in December and
      January respectively.

      That's not all.

      The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has thrown its weight behind
      the GBA and allotted them a cheque of Rs 37,000, the first instalment
      for development of basketball in the state.

      Need to hear more? Listen to Fr Ralin himself, saying, "We had written
      to Mahindra Group (who have a tie up with the NBA) and they have had a
      word with us. I will be going to Mumbai for a meeting."

      Now, if only, the GBA could convince the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG)
      and Goa Olympic Association (GOA) that they have the interest of the
      sport at heart and nothing else, the ghost of the past could be well
      and truly buried.