UBA Pro Basketball League Season 2: Pune Peshwas through to semis with win over Bengaluru Beast
The United Basketball Alliance (UBA) Pro Basketball League Season 2 witnessed exciting playoffs action today at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in the city. Mumbai Challengers and Pune Peshwas both came from behind to beat Punjab Steelers and Bengaluru Beast respectively, and qualify for the semis.
Telugu Actor Sushanth A. was the chief guest for the game, and even tried his hand at the sport. When asked to share his thoughts on the UBA Pro Basketball League and the participating athletes, he said, “I’m having a ball. They are playing really well. I got to see a slam dunk! I can’t dunk so I’m very impressed.”
Pune Peshwas bt Bengaluru Beast 79-73
The second playoff game of the day was between last year’s finalists Pune Peshwas and their southern division rivals Bengaluru Beast. The winner would face south division toppers and defending champions Chennai Slam in the semifinals.
Kaif Zia opened the scoring for Bengaluru with an unexpected 3-pointer and he did not stop there, aggressively driving to the basket and scoring 7 first quarter points. Beast forward Manpreet hit a couple of mid-range jumpers, while centre Somveer earned his points on the free throw line.
For Pune, it was a one-man wrecking crew with Narender Grewal scoring 10 out of his team’s 12 points in the first period. Beast managed to end the first quarter with a 3-point lead up 15 to 12.
After a low scoring first quarter, both teams stepped up their offense in the second quarter. Kaif lit up the scoreboard for the Beast, using his speed and athleticism to penetrate the Pune defense and finish at the rim. Manpreet peppered Beast’s scoring with a couple of jumpers to add to his team’s lead.
Kaif topped off Bengaluru’s second quarter run with a two-handed slam towards the end of the period. Point guard Shinde held up Pune’s offense, driving assertively to the basket.
Down by five points entering the second half, Pune kept plugging away, remaining within close distance of Bengaluru. Centre Gaurav Ohlan provided Pune with crucial second chance points en route to his double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
But Bengaluru remained in the lead thanks to the stellar play of guard Visu Palani, who fearlessly drove into the paint, scoring 10 points in the third quarter alone. Peshwas’ Shinde ended the third quarter with a double clutch jumper to keep his team within 6 points of Bengaluru (59-55).
Down the stretch in the fourth quarter, both teams traded buckets taking and making tough shots. The game was poised at 63-63 with five minutes left, when the unafraid players of both teams stepped up. Kaif (27 points) continued to hit acrobatic layups and tough floaters to build his team’s score. Point guard Raghuram finished on a couple alley-oop plays midway through the fourth quarter to give his team a slim lead.
But Pune was not willing to go down without a fight. Shinde, somehow, got to his side of the lane, driving in from the right to finish strong for two layups. Gaurav Ohlan pulled down crucial offensive rebounds and made his way to the freethrow line, drawing fouls with his hard-hitting play.
A big bucket from Gaurav Ohlan off another offensive rebound towards the end of the game shut down Bengaluru’s hopes, putting Pune up by 4. A couple of late freethrows sinked by Shinde sealed the deal and Pune advanced to the semifinals to face Chennai Slam in a best-of-three series. Narender Grewal was awarded player of the match honours.
Pune Peshwas (Narender Grewal 23pts 11rbs, Siddhanth Shinde 20pts 5asts, Gaurav Ohlan 15pts 10rbs) bt Bengaluru Beast (Kaif Zia 27pts, Visu Palani 16pts, Manpreet 9pts 10rbs) 79-73 (12-15, 21-23, 16-17, 30-18)