Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Hyderabad, 23rd July 2015: After the first round of head-to-heads, the return leg has begun at the UBA Indian Pro Basketball League in Gachibowli, Hyderabad.

Chennai Slam v. Hyderabad Sky

Chennai Slam's Chukwunanu Agu being closely guarded by Hyderabad Sky's top scorer Sri Ganesh Patil

Chennai Slam’s Chukwunanu Agu being closely guarded by Hyderabad Sky’s top scorer Sri Ganesh Patil

Facing each other for the second time this tournament, Chennai Slam was looking to exact revenge after their loss to Hyderabad Sky on the opening day. For Sky, the match began with Shri Ganesh Patil lighting it up from beyond the arc. Sky would score almost 30 points in the first quarter, before the momentum completely turned on its head in the next three. Chennai’s Ramkumar and Cammy kept plugging away on the offensive end, and were soon joined by Aditya Biswas and Vignesh, all of whom moved the ball beautifully in an exemplary display of team basketball. Chennai’s star player, Nigerian-born Agu was quiet for most of the first 3 quarters.

With Chennai up by double-digits and Agu on the bench in the fourth quarter, Sky made a late fightback led once again by the young and talented guard Sri Ganesh Patil. Chennai made the mistake of letting their composure drop leading to some avoidable fouls that brought Hyderabad back within single digits of Chennai at 66-73. Chennai coach Ravi Kumar could not keep his emotions in check while expressing his displeasure at the refereeing in this game and ended up getting a technical foul called on him. But with five minutes left in the game, Agu came back on the floor and the Chennai team displayed some beautiful offensive possessions, utilising the entire shot-clock and getting all five players involved. In the end, Chennai picked up a comfortable win remaining on the top of Group A.

Chennai Slam (Ramkumar 30, Bernette Carmel Joseph 27, Chukwunanu Agu 10) bt Hyderabad Sky (Shri Ganesh Patil 36, Vijay Merugu 12, Nihal Yadav 11) 91-77 (26-29, 22-9, 22-19, 21-20)

Bengaluru Beast v. Pune Peshwas

Pune Peshwas' Arjun drives past Bengaluru Beast's Yashas Ramesh

Pune Peshwas’ Arjun drives past Bengaluru Beast’s Yashas Ramesh

Bengaluru Beast have had a mixed tournament so far with more losses than wins coming into their return leg game against the Pune Peshwas. Pune won the first game between the two teams in close fashion, but lost the following two games. With their matching 1-2 records, a win today was important for both teams to stay in contention for a semifinal spot.

Pune’s small forward Arjun struggled to find the net, while muscular forward Yogesh turned the ball over repeatedly. Bengaluru’s defence was top notch, which forced Pune to resort to multiple outside shots, with the result that their scoring came only in dribs and drabs. Pune’s point guard Nitin Chopade and centre Vijay were the only two confident players on offense, while Bengaluru enjoyed the services of multiple scorers starting from forwards Varun, Karan, Hrishikesh to the guards foursome of TJ Sahi, Yashas Ramesh, Kaif Zia and Chethan.

Halfway through the third period, Pune’s Mane got his offense going, bringing Peshwas back within 5 points. Orchestrated by Mane, Vijay and Nitin, the remarkable turnaround had Pune erasing a double-digit deficit to not only tie the game at 52-52, but take a slender two point lead at 54-52.

By now, the offense had rubbed off on Pune’s defense and the pressure was suddenly on Bengaluru. That’s when super substitute Chethan stepped up with his corner threes hitting nothing but net. The frenetic third quarter ended at an intensity usually reserved to the final ten minutes, with Bengaluru wresting back in the lead at 63-58, courtesy a three pointer by Abhishek John. The fourth quarter had both teams exchanging buckets till the final minute. With Bengaluru down by 1-point in the final seconds, TJ Sahi converted a tough layup to put his team up by 1. Down 78-79, Pune’s Nitin Chopade managed to draw the foul on a wild shot attempt. With the opportunity to tie or take the lead, Chopade missed both freethrows. Bengaluru held on to the 1-point lead to take the game and make it to second place in Group A.

Bengaluru Beast (P. Vijay 26, Ajinkya Mane 18, Yogesh Rahirame 10) bt Pune Peshwas (TJ Sahi 17, Karan Joshua 16, Abhishek John 9) 79-78 (28-22, 18-14, 17-22, 16-20)

Current Standings

Group A

Group B

Chennai Slam 3-1 (+32) Haryana Gold 3-0 (+18)
Bengaluru Beast 2-2 (-6) Punjab Steelers 2-1 (+9)
Hyderabad Sky 2-2 (-15) Delhi Capitals 1-2 (+33)
Pune Peshwas 1-3 (-12) 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.

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