Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Hyderabad, 20th July 2015:
Haryana Gold v. Mumbai Challengers
After coming off a thrilling victory in their opening game against Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold took on the Mumbai Challengers in the first game of Day 4 of the UBA Indian Pro Basketball League being held at Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad.
Mumbai Challengers heavily relied on the dual scoring punch of Karan Pal Singh and Raj Kalbhor, who collectively scored 65 of their team’s 69 points. But, as was the case in their previous game against the Punjab Steelers, relying on individual scoring cost them against a unified Haryana Gold lineup. Haryana’s guard Birender Singh continued his good form displaying a silky smooth shooting touch. He went 4 of 7 from 3-point range and top scored for this team with 21 points. The twin towers of Rakesh and Abhishek in Haryana’s frontcourt helped outrebound the Mumbai team who struggled on the boards owing to their undersized lineup. Overall, Haryana enjoyed a 43 to 29 rebounding advantage.
Mumbai did attempt a comeback with a strong third quarter led by a determined Raj Kalbhor, who got the line with strong drives. But Haryana did not slow down on their offensive momentum, and timely shots helped them maintain their lead and clinch the victory. Haryana now tops the table in Group B with a perfect 2-0 record, while Mumbai Challengers’ (0-2) quest for a maiden win will have to wait a bit longer.
Haryana Gold (Birender Singh 21, Rakesh Sangwan 16, Vikas Kumar 16) bt Mumbai Challengers (Karan Pal Singh 33, Raj Kalbhor 32) 78-69 (21-13, 21-14, 14-25, 22-17)
Punjab Steelers v. Delhi Capitals
In the second match of the day, undefeated Punjab Steelers produced yet another efficient performance to overpower Delhi Capitals. The relatively low scoring match started off deceptively with both teams turning the ball over repeatedly while trying to find their offensive rhythm.
The Delhi side came into this game on the back of a tough one-point loss to Haryana Gold. In this game, Delhi rarely got close to the Steelers who kept building on their lead one quarter at a time. At one point, early in the third quarter they had scored twice as many as Capitals, leading 42-21.
The balanced Punjab unit has probably the best frontcourt starting duo in Ravi Bhardwaj and Karandeep Singh, leading to complete domination in the paint. They were also well served by super substitute Sanjeev Rao, who belied his tiny frame to score 8 crucial points.
For Delhi, Dheeraj Rawat and Yudhvir Dahiya were the main contributors, who both managed to score in double digits. But they got little support from the rest of the Delhi team, who never really got their offense going in this low-scoring contest. Punjab will next take on fellow undefeated side Haryana Gold in the battle for top spot, while bottom placed Delhi and Mumbai sides will face off, on 22nd July.
Punjab Steelers (Sartaj Sandhu 13, Ravi Bhardwaj 11) bt Delhi Capitals (Dheeraj Rawat 12, Yudhvir Dahiya 10) 58-47 (19-16, 12-2, 15-15, 12-14)
Standings after four days
|Chennai Slam 1-1 (+13)||Punjab Steelers 2-0 (+17)|
|Bengaluru Beast 1-1 (-2)||Haryana Gold 2-0 (+10)|
|Hyderabad Sky 1-1 (-2)||Delhi Capitals 0-2 (-12)|
|Pune Peshwas 1-1 (-10)||Mumbai Challengers 0-2 (-15)|
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. Teams will play each other twice in the league rounds, and the two teams with the best records after six league matches will qualify for the semifinals.
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.