After registering an emphatic victory against Mizoram in the semi-finals of the ongoing Santosh Trophy at the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium on Friday, Punjab, which has an impressive track record of winning the coveted title eight times in the past, will be looking forward to lift the trophy on Sunday after a gap of eight years.
Punjab will be facing the same opponent, Services, in the finals of the tournament, whom it defeated in 2007 to win Santosh Trophy last time in Srinagar.
Strong contender West Bengal, which has won the title 31 times in the past, has already been ousted from the tournament at the league stage. Punjab, the second best performer in the tournament, has entered the finals 14 times so far and it will have a brilliant opportunity to claim the title on Sunday while playing on its own turf.
It was in the year 2009 when Punjab was close to win the title but West Bengal defeated them in the finals in Kolkata.
After drawing a match with West Bengal, winning against Maharashtra in the quarter final and defeating one of the strongest contenders of the title, Mizoram, in the semi-final, the enthsiastic Punjab team, which has improved upon its performance with each match, is all set to take on Services.
Shivtar Bajwa, general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, said, "Services is indeed a strong opponent but Punjab has a good track record of winning Santosh Trophy twice while hosting it. Above all, it has emerged quite strong in this tournament. We will be looking forward to convert that into a hattrick this time. It will be interesting to see how it turns out as both the teams have never faced each other in the finals of the tournament's history."
In their previous encounter at the league stage, Punjab and Services played a draw.
Punjab has remained runner-up for six times in the Santosh Trophy.