*Images by Anukriti Bishen.
Hyderabad, 24th March 2016: The second and final leg of the United Basketball Alliance (UBA) Pro Basketball League 2016, underway at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium saw home team Hyderabad Sky beat Pune Peshwas in a double OT thriller. Later in the evening, Chennai slam outlasted Bengaluru Beast.
Eminent BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, and Telugu film actor Sai Dharam Tej were chief guests on the occasion and wished all the participating teams the very best.
Chennai Slam bt Bengaluru Beast 83-76
The second game of day 2 of the Hyderabad leg was between southern contenders Chennai Slam and Bengaluru Beast. Defending champs Chennai and Bengaluru both ended the Pune leg on a 3-2 win-loss record, leaving the race for the semifinal spots from the southern division wide open.
To begin the game, Chennai ran their offense through their frontcourt. Centre Gopal Ram powered past the Beast forwards, draining close bankers and baby hooks in the first quarter. Forward Ashutosh also began the game well earning his points on the freethrow line. Chennai jumped onto a 29-15 start at the end of the first quarter. Shaken, but not stirred, Bengaluru bounced back in the second quarter led by guards Raghuram and Yashas. Both knocked down big triples to cut into Chennai’s lead, which was reduced to 7 by halftime.
The third quarter turned out to be an even scoring affair with both teams playing a fast-paced style and scoring in transition. But Chennai’s big rebounding advantage (47 to 29) hurt the Bengaluru side. Chennai continue to pile up the points in the paint taking and making high-percentage shots. Slam’s Nigerian baller Chukwunanu Agu (18 points and 10 rebounds) found success in his penetration, using his speed and athleticism to finish at the basket. Both teams went on scoring runs, but Chennai always managed to stay over 5 points ahead of Bengaluru.
Bengaluru’s Kaif Zia was aggressive in the second half, leading his team’s comeback, hunting for the lead. Chennai, however, was cool as ever down the stretch, sticking to their game plan of ball movement and open shots. In the end, Chennai stayed clear of Bengaluru with clutch freethrows from Ashutosh and the dagger layup from Agu that sealed Chennai’s 83-76 victory.
Hyderabad Sky bt Pune Peshwas 101-97
With the UBA Pro League Season 2 shifting to Hyderabad for its second and final leg, the Pune Peshwas played in front of an away crowd for the first time this tournament today. They were facing the home team Hyderabad Sky who were looking to continue their momentum built towards the end of the Pune leg into Hyderabad.
With both teams sporting strong backcourts, it was a battle of the guards in today’s game. In the first quarter, international guard Narender Grewal was aggressive for the Peshwas looking for his shot driving to the basket. For Hyderabad, international guard Joginder Singh and Sky’s Nigerian centre Edwin Oneh combined well to provide a one-two scoring punch for their team, including a buzzer-beating layup to end the first quarter by Joginder.
Down by 6 points entering the second quarter, Joginder went into another gear finding his touch from long range. Veteran forward Nihal Yadav provided offense off the bench, contributing 8 straight points in the second period. Sky ended up outscoring the Peshwas 30 to 14 in the second quarter and at halftime, the scores were 48-38 with Hyderabad up. It was only international point guard Siddhanth Shinde (33 points) who kept the scoreboard ticking for Pune, being able to penetrate and score.
Shaken up at halftime, Pune Peshwas came out assertive in the third quarter. Narender powered his way to the basket on multiple occasions to either finish in the paint or get to the freethrow line. Pune managed to regain the lead, outscoring Hyderabad 26 to 13 in the third period. The fourth quarter saw both teams trading buckets and the scores remaining neck-and-neck. Sky’s Indian-Australian guard Mahesh Padmanabhan started to find his 3-point touch, hitting two late 3s that kept his team in the game. Towards the end, with a minute left to go in the game and Pune up by 4 points, Hyderabad’s Vijay Kumar hit a clutch transition bucket to cut Pune’s lead down to 2. On the next possession, Joginder just ripped the ball from Pune’s Ajinkya Mane’s hands, which led to a transition play that resulted in Sky’s Monish Wilson getting fouled on a 3-point attempt. He made two out of the three freethrows to tie the game at 79. With one second left on the clock, Pune’s alley-oop attempt faltered and the game went to its first overtime.
In the first OT, both teams were exchanging buckets for the first four minutes. Pune managed to gain a 2-point lead with under a minute left in the game. Sky guard Mahesh coolly banked a runner off the glass to tie the game. The final possessions produced nothing for both teams, leading to a second overtime. This OT belonged to Mahesh Padmanabhan (28 points), who went on a scoring tear, starting with a runner in the lane, followed by two huge triples. He also used the pick-and-roll with his big men to create easy buckets in the paint. Sky managed to close out the thrilling game with a 101-97 finish to take their first game in front of their home crowd this season. Padmanabhan from Sky was deservedly awarded the man of the match.
Hyderabad Sky (Mahesh Padmanabhan 28pts, Joginder Singh 18pts, Edwin Oneh 14pts 10rbs) bt Pune Peshwas (Siddhanth Shinde 33pts 5asts, Narender Grewal 12rbs, Ajinkya Mane 11pts) 101-97 (18-24, 30-14, 13-26, 18-15, 8-8, 14-10)
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 (Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex) followed by 23 March to 3 April in Hyderabad (Gachibowli Stadium). 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 tournament play, and creating merchandising opportunities.