UBA: Mumbai Challengers edge out timid Haryana Gold 95-77
Mumbai Challengers won their first ever game at the UBA after comprehensively beating Haryana Gold 95-77 in the second match of UBA Pro Basketball League Season 2. Nikhil Kumar of Mumbai finished the game with 25 points, while the hugely impressive Jagdeep Bains took 17. Deepak Rathee of Haryana was their top scorer with 15 points and Vikas Kumar came a close second with 14.
Haryana Gold started the game strongly after taking an early 8-0 lead in the game. Rathee and Ashiv Jain were instrumental in keeping the tempo high in the Haryana camp early on. Former India player Bains, playing for Mumbai Challengers, started the scoring for Mumbai. His first field basket coupled with a free throw got the home crowd up and running after a slow start. Jagdeep never stopped putting on a show from there on as he put on a masterful performance for the remainder of the first half.
Mumbai slowly crawled back into the game and Haryana Gold felt the pressure after Karan Pal Singh and Jagdeep took matters into their own hands. Jagdeep scored 7 consecutive points for Mumbai with a 3-pointer and a couple of difficult 2-pointers. He followed it with a wonderful back pass to Gagandeep Singh to help Mumbai crawl back to 17-24 by the end of the first quarter.
Mumbai continued scoring effortlessly in the 2nd quarter and Jagdeep was on hand to level scores at 26 with a wonderful reverse layup. With six minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter Mumbai took the lead for the first time and kept it till the half. At half-time, the scoreboard read 44-37 in favour of the Challengers.
HT: Mumbai Challengers 44-37 Haryana Gold
Nikhil Kumar of Mumbai, who came on as a substitute, also started to trouble the Haryana defence with his smart play, and the team who had a horrible first season looked sharper with every single play.
The second half began with Surender of Mumbai scoring a three and the home team went from strength to strength and never looked back. With 6 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Mumbai had established a healthy lead of 10 points. Haryana lost possession quite often and their coach Shiba Maagoon, a national level player with India, was often seen livid the players.
The final quarter looked as if Haryana had lost faith that they could make a comeback. Mumbai took advantage of their opponents’ indecisiveness and wrapped up the game 95-77 to open their account in the UBA.
FT: Mumbai Challengers 95-77 Haryana Gold
“It was the first match. We were making a lot of mistakes, but eventually, I think we controlled the game really well. Last year Mumbai were last in the league, but this year we want to go for the win” Jagdeep Bains, who mesmerized the crowd with skilful play told Sportskeeda.
“I feel really good playing after 3 years. I think I did OK. I’m just going to concentrate on the next game now,” he signed off.