Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Hyderabad, 19th July 2015:

Chennai Slam v. Pune Peshwas

Chennai Slam in action against Pune Peshwas.

Chennai Slam in action against Pune Peshwas.

Team Chennai Slam bounced back from an opening day loss to register their first win of the UBA Indian Pro Basketball League 2015 that is underway at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad. In the process of this 73-56 win, they also condemned Pune Peshwas to their first defeat of the Championship. The Chennai side was completely off colour in the first half of their opening loss against Hyderabad Sky. Today, they came out firing on all cylinders knocking down deep outside shots to race away to a 7-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw a fighting Pune Peshwas side move to a much needed higher gear to claw back within 4 points of Chennai at halftime.

But that was until Chennai Slam’s Allen Iverson look-alike point guard Agu, who otherwise represents Hindustan University Chennai found his sensational scoring touch that he was missing in the previous game. Inside or outside, defense or offense, Agu could not be stopped in his uncanny tough as nails yet skilled approach that defined the NBA legend Iverson in his prime. Agu too is a score first point guard and his class showed against a disciplined Pune side that does not boast of a similar scoring machine. For Pune, centre Arjun battled hard but could be heard being admonished by his Coach. Yogesh Bahirane top-scored for the Peshwas with 22 points. At the end, Agu was too much to handle for the Pune team and the game turned out to be a blowout victory for Chennai.

Chennai Slam (Chuckwunanu Agu 24, Vignesh 18, Bernatte Carmel Joseph 14) bt Pune Peshwas (Yogesh Bahirane 22, Arjun Mehta 13, P. Vijay 11) 73-56 (20-13, 16-19, 15-12, 22-12)

Bengaluru Beast v. Hyderabad Sky

Shiv Khoiwal of Hyderabad Blues lays the ball up against Bengaluru Beast.

Shiv Khoiwal of Hyderabad Blues lays the ball up against Bengaluru Beast.

Coming off their opening day victory against the strong Chennai Slam team, home-team Hyderabad Sky took on their south Indian neighbours Bengaluru Beast in the second game today.

Just like Chennai earlier in the day, Bengaluru too were baying for blood in search of their first win. The intent showed through the first two quarters, taking them to 20 point lead before Hyderabad Sky went on a run to close the first half trailing at 39-50. Substitute point guard Abhishek John turned in a magical role performance to ignite the Bengaluru offence. For Hyderabad, the excellent post play of Nihal and Sujith Reddy kept them in the hunt, while for Bengaluru, the guard duo of TJ Sahi and Yashas Ramesh kept scoring in transition and semi transition situations.

The second half of this youth (Bengaluru) vs experience (Hyderabad) contest saw an already heated affair turn hostile, with a flare up between Kaif Zia of Bengaluru and Prasad of Hyderabad. An unsportsmanlike foul was called against the Hyderabad guard. However, post the fracas, Hyderabad managed to keep up their momentum to end the third quarter within single digits of Bengaluru, at 51-59. The exciting third quarter had highlight defensive plays from both sides: a steal by Rajasthan substitute Shiv Khoiwal leading to his finish at the other end, a chase down block by TJ Sahi, and another block by Hyderabad Centre Sujith Reddy against young Bengaluru guard Yashas Ramesh.

Ramesh though would get equally pumped up for the fourth with some acrobatic drive-ins despite contact. Ramesh also forced veteran Hyderabad point guard Prasad to commit his second intentional foul, leading to his ejection within minutes of the fourth quarter. Defensively, Bengaluru’s Kaif Zia pulled down numerous crucial rebounds on both ends of the floor to make up for Bengaluru’s frontline lapses in the first half. In the end Bengaluru did well to slow down the offense and eke out a 70-63 win, their first of this tournament.

Bengaluru Beast (TJ Sahi 21, Yashas Ramesh 17, Abhishek John 10) bt Hyderabad Sky (Sujith Reddy 13, Shri Ganesh Patil 11, Shiv Khoiwal 9) 70-63 (26-21, 24-17, 9-12, 11-12)

Standings after three days

Group A

Group B

Chennai Slam 1-1 (+13) Punjab Steelers 1-0 (+6)
Bengaluru Beast 1-1 (-2) Haryana Gold 1-0 (+1)
Hyderabad Sky 1-1 (-2) Delhi Capitals 0-1 (-1)
Pune Peshwas 1-1 (-10) Mumbai Challengers 0-1 (-6)

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 for 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.  The eight teams have been divided into two groups of four each on geographical lines: Bengaluru Beast, Pune Peshwas, Chennai Slam and Hyderabad Sky in one group and Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold, Mumbai Challengers and Punjab Steelers in the other group.

For more information, visit: http://www.ubaindia.com/.

About Universal Basketball Alliance of India (UBA)

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.

Team Ekalavyas
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