Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Hyderabad, 18th July 2015: Day 2 of the UBA Pro League, India’s first professional basketball league, at Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad, began with the Mumbai Challengers, in yellow jerseys, taking on the Punjab Steelers, donning black.

Punjab Steelers v. Mumbai Challengers

Top scorer Kiranpal Singh of Mumbai Challengers (in yellow) in action against Punjab Steelers

Top scorer Kiranpal Singh of Mumbai Challengers (in yellow) in action against Punjab Steelers

Punjab’s formidable frontcourt lineup made this matchup an uphill task for Mumbai. The Steelers exploited their size advantage with forwards Ravi Bhardwaj and Sartaj Sandhu doing the bulk of the scoring. Sartaj led Punjab’s charge in the first half getting his way to the basket with ease. Punjab had multiple second-chance points with their superior offensive rebounding and quickly managed to take a double-digit lead. Mumbai’s lone offensive spark came from Chhattisgarh player Kiranpal Singh who put up the highest individual scoring performance of the tournament thus far with 41 points. Mumbai attempted a late comeback in the fourth quarter led by Kiranpal Singh’s efficient 3-point shooting. But it was too little too late, as Punjab held on to secure a victory in the first game of the tournament.

Punjab Steelers (Ravi Bhardwaj 33, Sartaj Sandhu 11) bt Mumbai Challengers (Kiranpal Singh 41, Akash Subbaiah 12) 72-66 (20-17, 18-8, 24-16, 10-25)

Delhi Capitals v. Haryana Gold

Pulkit of Delhi Capitals drives against Rakesh of Haryana Gold

Pulkit of Delhi Capitals drives against Rakesh of Haryana Gold

The second match of the day was a battle between the two neighbouring states of Delhi and Haryana. The Delhi Capitals, in blue, fielded a team filled with Delhi University collegiate stars and alumni. On the other hand, Haryana Gold enjoyed the services of two new Indian campers, Himanshu Sharma and Vikas Kumar. Vikas also played for the Indian team at the recently concluded SABA Championship.

Both teams employed an up-and-down fast-paced style of play with the lead going back and forth throughout the game. Haryana’s Birender Singh and point guard Himanshu led the way for their team with crafty drives to the basket and timely 3-pointers. The Capitals, on the other hand, repeatedly ran their offense through their post players, as their forward Aaditya led his team in scoring with 16 points.

After an even first half, Delhi came out firing in the third quarter and managed to build a lead. But Haryana clawed their way back into the game in the fourth and things went down to the wire. The exciting final minute saw big 3-pointers made by both teams leading to the scores tied at 75. On Delhi’s penultimate possession, Aaditya managed to draw the foul and headed to the freethrow line, only to make the first and miss the second. With Delhi leading by 1 point, Haryana grabbed the rebound from the missed freethrow and Himanshu raced to the other end for a fast break layup. On Delhi’s final possession with 5 seconds left on the clock, their game-winning attempt went in-and-out and Haryana held on to secure a thrilling 1-point victory.

Haryana Gold (Birender Singh 24, Himanshu Sharma 19, Vikas Kumar 18) bt Delhi Capitals (Aaditya Vikram Singh 16, Rachit 14, Dheeraj Rawat 14) 77-76 (18-17, 13-11, 18-31, 28-17)

About the UBA Pro Basketball League

The UBA Pro Basketball League is structured on a league cum knockout basis. The Pro League is being held between 17th to 30th July at the Gachibowli Multipurpose Indoor stadium in Hyderabad that has been specially refurbished to host this event. There are eight teams in total: Pune Peshwas, Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold, Punjab Steelers, Chennai Slam, Mumbai Challengers, Bengaluru Beast and Hyderabad Sky. For more information, visit: http://www.ubaindia.com/.

About Universal Basketball Alliance of India, LLC (UBA India)

The Universal Basketball Alliance of India, LLC (UBA India) is a next-generation sports branding company. Its main objective is to make sport brands mean something to their sport viewers. To do that, UBA helps brands connect with viewers by providing insight-driven ideas across all media platforms. In addition to the ongoing maiden Pro Basketball League, UBA India has acquired the broadcast, merchandise and sponsorship rights to the existing, and self-governing Indian University Basketball Program.  The UBA is currently securing television broadcasting arrangements, securing corporate sponsorships for tournament play, and creating merchandising opportunities.

UBA will focus its attention on the AIU and popularizing its All India Inter Zonal Tournament as an entertainment product for Indian viewers to enjoy for generations to come, just as collegiate Basketball is in the United States.

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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