Back from fever, Punjab Steelers’ Irazoke Kavakure Bryan took the sheen off the former champions, Chennai Slam with his outstanding performance, as they registered a 83-81 win to tie the best-of-three UBA professional basketball League (1-1), at the Balewadi sports complex in Pune on Saturday.
In the process, the Steelers have made Sunday a fun day for the final summit clash which would engrave the name of the champion on the glittering UBA trophy in this third season of this first professional basketball league.
Down by one point, 78-79, with less than two minute for the hooter, Punjab's Akhilesh Kumar assured his team of the win with a three pointer before Bryan came up with two points, off free throws. This sealed the win and pushed the result to the final day on Sunday as the two teams are locked at 1-1 in the best of 3 finals in Season 3 of UBA.
Kaushal's good defence and his combination with the amateur side saw them back in the title reckoning. Kaushal for his superb outing was rightly named the name of the match.
“It was the right time to make a comeback. We did not take the defeat as a setback, but as a challenge and the boys played according to the play, and we are back," said the jubilant Punjab coach, Gurkripal Singh.
“We forget about what happened yesterday and came in afresh which made the difference and with Sagar Joshi along with Kaushal and the other on the court contributing for the victory," said Bryan, who is pursuing his studies in Pune.
Agu, who was out just for two seconds in this 40 minutes encounter, was in his usual best. Although, he could not find the target with his three pointers (1-5), which he is known for his two pointers made up, as the Niderian converted 12 in his 17 attempts said it all.
The Prasanna coached Chennai side did come up with their best in the final session of the match, but their aggressive approach, wherein they fell prey to fouls which saw them face the only second defeat in this edition of the championship. Their approach saw them garner 23 points against their rivals 17 in the last quarter of the match.
"Yesterday is past, but the boys were carried away. Anyway we are looking for a good match on Sunday," said Prasanna, the Chennai coach.