Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Hyderabad, 22nd July 2015:

Haryana Gold v. Punjab Steelers

Haryana Gold's Vikas Mor attempts a jumper

Haryana Gold’s Vikas Mor attempts a jumper

Two of India’s powerhouse basketball states, neighbours Haryana and Punjab, who have contributed players to the Indian national basketball team for many years now, squared off in the opening game of day six the UBA Indian Pro Basketball League at Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad.

Punjab Steelers had a new addition to their lineup today, with budding star forward Gurvinder Gill, who played for India in the recently concluded SABA Championship, making his first appearance for his home team. But the new starting lineup, which included Gill, struggled to find the right chemistry in the first quarter. Haryana Gold came out with a chip on their shoulder and  their forwards, Rakesh and Abhishek, were impressive in the paint. Guards Himanshu and Birender continued their good shooting form, and Haryana raced away to a 22-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Entering the second quarter, Punjab continued to lack rhythm on the offensive end with multiple turnovers. Haryana kept pushing the pace to maintain their double-digit lead, but the first half turned out to be a low scoring affair, ending with Haryana on top 34-24. As the second half began, Punjab mixed up their lineup, benching Gill for most of the third quarter, which proved effective. Gill found his touch in the final period, with emphatic plays on both ends of the floor. But the difference maker in this game was Haryana forward Rakesh Sangwan, worked tirelessly and single handedly to negate his opposition forwards standing at 6ft 7, 6ft 8 and 6ft 9 inches respectively.

Haryana Gold (Rakesh Sangwan 22, Himanshu Sharma 18, Vikas Kumar 15) bt Punjab Steelers (Sartaj Sandhu 18, Kuldeep Singh 13, Gurvinder Gill 11) 79-71 (22-12, 12-12, 27-25, 18-22)

Delhi Capitals v. Mumbai Challengers

Delhi's primary scorer Yudhvir Dahiya in action against Mumbai Challengers.

Delhi’s primary scorer Yudhvir Dahiya in action against Mumbai Challengers.

The second game of the day was between two teams still searching for their first wins of the tournament, the Delhi Capitals and the Mumbai Challengers. Delhi had the size advantage with a bigger frontline. Mumbai Challengers was unable to get their two primary offensive weapons Karan Pal Singh and Raj Kalbhor going, with the result that the Challengers could only score 18 points in the first half. Credit must go to the number of turnovers created by Delhi with their waving hands shrinking the passing lanes for Mumbai.

The Capitals created multiple second chance opportunities with forward Yudhvir Dahiya and Arshdeep pounding the offensive boards. The second half had the same script with Delhi building on their lead with easy transition buckets untroubled by a non-existent Mumbai defense. The yawning gulf between the two lower placed teams was evidenced by Delhi leading by a whopping 33 points in the third quarter. It seemed like there was a lid on the basket for Mumbai, as they ended their third straight league game on a loss. Despite this win, Delhi Capitals’ position remains unchanged at third in the group.

Delhi Capitals (Yudhvir Dahiya 25, Pravin Kumar 21, Aaditya Raj 15) bt Mumbai Challengers (Raj Kalbhor 12, Karan Pal Singh 8) 83-38 (14-9, 17-9, 33-9, 19-11)

Standings after six days

Group A

Group B

Chennai Slam 2-1 (+18) Haryana Gold 3-0 (+18)
Hyderabad Sky 2-1 (-1) Punjab Steelers 2-1 (+9)
Bengaluru Beast 1-2 (-7) Delhi Capitals 1-2 (+33)
Pune Peshwas 1-2 (-11) Mumbai Challengers 0-3 (-60)

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.

Team Ekalavyas
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