Defending champions Chennai Slam defeated Delhi Capitals 77-62 in Game 1 of the UBA Pro Basketball League finals to take 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Watched on by Telugu film star Rana Daggubati at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, both teams matched each other in the first quarter before Chennai seized the initiative and surged ahead. Chennai center Gopal was named Player of the Match, taking home the Rs 25,000 prize after scoring 22 points.
Delhi center and semifinal Game 3 star Ramesh was the man to watch in the early minutes as he helped the Capitals to a 8-2 lead. But by the timeout at 03:36, Chennai Slam had turned the tables and reversed the scoreline, largely thanks to shooting guard Cammy Carmel took things to his own hand, downing a great three pointer.
The lead, however continued to sway like a pendulum, with newly announced 2016 MVP Vinay Kaushik starring for Delhi while Agu was starting to get into his groove for Chennai. Delhi forward Smithin knocked down a buzzer beater to give his side a narrow 16-15 lead at the end of the quarter.
Chennai came out for the second quarter with renewed energy and went on a scoring spree which Delhi found hard to match. The triumvirate of Agu, Gopal and Cammy was on fine form, knocking down a combined 19 points in the quarter. Star guard Agu was particularly impressive, displaying his full range of shots and was dictating the pace of the game with ease. For Delhi, it was an insipid quarter although Ramesh tried to keep the resistance going. Chennai went on to end the quarter with a 40-25 lead.
Chennai Slam steer out of sight
After half-time, Delhi were determined to make up for lost ground, but found the going tough. Even with an improved performance, they had to deal with the physical and scoring prowess of Gopal, who scored 13 points in the third quarter alone before going off for a well deserved rest. Frustration was creeping into the Delhi ranks as Chennai closed the quarter holding a 55-43 lead.
Entering the final quarter, Chennai looked to extend the lead further, but Delhi were in no mood to give up...just yet. Vinay Kaushik, Smithin and Ajay Pratap all contributed to the efforts while Sunil came on to down a massive three pointer. On the other side, Agu got three of his own alongside the continued scoring efforts of Gopal and Cammy. At the timeout at 00:41, Chennai had a 14-point lead and it was a matter of time before they went on to clinch a 77-62 win, taking a 1-0 lead in the UBA Championship finals.
Chennai Slam coach Ravi Kumar spoke to Sportskeeda after the match and said, “It was very exciting today as we, Chennai Slam, are playing in the final for the second successive time. I am satisfied with the performance; although we had defensive issues in the first two quarters, Gopal is very experienced and he managed it well. I don’t know what we would do without him!”
Chennai Slam (Gopal Ram 22pts, Chukwunanu Agu 17pts 10rbs 6asts 6stls, Cammy Carmel 17pts) bt Delhi Capitals (Ramesh 15pts, Vinay Kaushik 10pts 15rbs, Smithin Setu 10pts) 77-62 (15-16, 25-9, 15-18, 22-19)Published 01 Apr 2016, 22:49 IST