*Report by Vishnu Ravi Shankar & images by Dulon Kharsati; with inputs from Gopalakrishnan R.
Pune, 20th February 2016: The second season of the United Basketball Alliance (UBA) Pro Basketball League witnessed Day 3 action at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in the city. Pune Peshwas (south division) and Delhi Capitals (north division) posted convincing wins. In the process, Pune Peshwas are 1-1, Hyderabad Sky is 0-2, Delhi Capitals is 2-0 and Haryana Gold is 0-2.
Leading TV presenters and actors Rochelle Rao and Keith Sequeira were seen enjoying the action. Also present for the Pune Peshwas vs Hyderabad Sky game, was the entire Pune Anmol Ratn team, which is one of the squads in the Box Cricket League (BCL) cricket tournament. BCL is a unique reality TV concept show which displays the fusion of cricket & entertainment.
“What has really stood out for me is what UBA has done in giving Indian basketball players something to look forward to. UBA has given a glimmer of hope that if you have a passion in your blood your can follow it,” said Mr Keith Sequeira.
Pune Peshwas bt Hyderabad Sky
Home team Pune Peshwas had their second game of the season on Day 3 against Hyderabad Sky. The fitness level of both teams, who were playing back-to-back games today, was definitely a factor. After losing their opening games yesterday, both squads came out hungry searching for their first victory in the tournament.
Hyderabad Sky switched up their starting lineup bringing forward Monish Wilson into the first five in place of Himanshu Jangra. The Peshwas also brought in forward Edwin Irwin into the starting five in place of Ajinkya Mehta. Sky looked good to begin the game with point guard Joginder Singh finding his touch from 3-point range. The first quarter even featured the first in-game dunk of the season from Sky centre Edwin, who elevated in the paint for a powerful two-handed slam. But after their good run to begin the game, Pune stepped up to take over the next three quarters. It began with their backup centre Gaurav Ohlan showing off his post play to nail buckets on three consecutive possessions. It was then the turn of the Pune guards, who provided a huge offensive burst to the team. Pune point guard and India international Siddhanth Shinde orchestrated the offense well penetrating and kicking out to his teammates for open shots. Pune sixth man Ajinkya Mane provided a big spark off the bench with his shot-making ability. He finished at the basket multiple times and knocked down open 3-pointers.
The real star of the game, however, was Peshwas’ shooting guard Narender Grewal. Hyderabad had no answer for the India international, who pretty much had his way on the offensive end. Whether it was driving to the basket, finishing in transition or shooting 3s, Grewal showcased the full package today and ended up with 37 points in the contest. The game turned into a blowout with Peshwas breaking the team scoring record by hitting the century mark today. The lone bright spark for Sky was the play of Indian-Australian guard Mahesh Padmanabhan (22 points) who kept fighting till the end.
The Peshwas won their first game of Season 2, 104-76, while the Sky will have to search for answers to their disappointing run so far.
Pune Peshwas (Narender Grewal 37, Ajinkya Mane 18, Siddhanth Shinde 17) bt Hyderabad Sky (Mahesh Padmanabhan 22, Joginder Singh 10, Edwin 10) 104-76 (17-16, 31-21, 24-20, 32-19)
Delhi Capitals bt Haryana Gold
All eight teams have taken to the court at least once in Season 2 of the UBA Pro Basketball League. Today, on day 3, the Delhi Capitals and the Haryana Gold squared off against each other for the first time. The Capitals went into this game confident, after their opening victory against the Punjab Steelers on Day 1. On the other hand, Haryana Gold was looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss against the Mumbai Challengers.
Picking up from their first game, the Capitals got off to a rollicking start thanks to their backcourt duo of Sachin Sharma and Vinay Kaushik. Point guard Sharma was able to penetrate and create for his teammates, while Vinay Kaushik continued his good shooting form knocking down long-range bombs early in the game. Capitals set the tone on the defensive end as well making life difficult for the Gold players with their active hands that led to a number of easy transition buckets. The Gold also suffered from their lack of rim protection as their centre Jaskaran was unable to keep pace with Delhi centre Ramesh, who got to the rim multiple times.
However, despite conceding an early lead, Haryana kept their head in the game and fought to claw their way back in the contest. Gold forward Deepak Rathee worked his way in the post on his way to 18 points in the game, while centre Jaskaran (23 points) had a better game on the offensive end, converting shots around the rim and making his way to the freethrow line. Former India international Vikas Kumar’s decisive drives to the basket helped his team cut down the Capitals’ lead to single digits.
But Delhi’s offensive weapons were too much to handle for Haryana. Capitals’ forward Smithin Settu was solid again today with 19 points in the contest and small forward Ajay Pratap Singh was nailing shots from the inside and the outside. Haryana’s lack of solid point guard play hurt them leading to multiple turnovers and poor offensive flow. Towards the end, Delhi pulled away for an 86-72 victory, led by Vinay Kaushik’s 26 points.
Delhi Capitals (Vinay Kaushik 26, Smithin Settu 19, Ajay Pratap Singh 15) bt Haryana Gold (Jaskaran 23, Deepak Rathee 18, Vikas Kumar 16) 86-72 (24-16, 20-17, 19-21, 23-18)
About the UBA Pro Basketball League
The UBA Pro Basketball League is structured on a league cum knockout basis. Season 2 is being held in two phases: 18 to 28 Feb in Pune followed by 21st March to 3rd April in Hyderabad. There are eight teams in total divided into two divisions: Pune Peshwas, Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold, Punjab Steelers (North division) and Chennai Slam, Mumbai Challengers, Bengaluru Beast and Hyderabad Sky (South division). Chennai Slam won the inaugural season last year with Pune Peshwas finishing second.
About United Basketball Alliance India Pvt. Ltd.
The United Basketball Alliance (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. With respect to its Pro Basketball League, UBA India has already secured primetime television broadcasting arrangements with the Ten Sports Network, and is securing corporate sponsorships for the league, and creating merchandising opportunities.