In another crunch match, the Pune crowd returned home heavy hearted as their home team lost in a thriller. The beginning somehow wasn’t going as per how the Peshwas wanted. A couple of fouls and wrong moves found Pune trailing 19-21 in the first quarter.
But later, call it the support of the fans, the hard word of the players or the grit to overcome the impossible, the Pune outfit started showing their true colours. In the second quarter, Pune covered most of the balance as they went on to lead 43-39 by half-time.
Chennai encashed the most in the third quarter. They not only covered the deficit, but Chennai equalized 62 all by the end of Q3. Soon after half time, Chennai tried taking a lead by a brilliant three-pointer by Ram Kumar. But the deficit wasn’t cleared as Chennai were still trailing by a point 43-42.
It was almost a cat and mouse chase between Pune and Chennai in the fourth quarter as both were up in the game. In the dying moment, it was Ajinkiya Mane who provided relief to Pune with his two-pointer which gave the home team a lead 79-77. However, the lead was momentary. In the end, Chennai gathered all the momentum to overcome the hosts 85-81.
For Pune, it was Narendra Grewal who was all over the court. He scored the highest number of points, 34, though in the losing cause.
Happy with his performance, the star performer of the game for Chennai, Agu says, “I am happy with the game and hope we continue with the pace.”
He was, however, cynical about the win at the start owning to the crowds support. “The fans here are crazy, they certainly love their team and especially the game of basketball. We overcame the home team, we are really proud of us,” smiled Agu.
There were times when the crowd were booing the Chennai team. However, it did not bother Agu. He said, “The booing actually got the best out of me. Hope we reach till the end.”
Agu, however, found the court to be a bit slippery. He added, “We are getting used to the new court. It’s beautiful we need to get used to it.”
Result: Chennai Slam (Agu 15pts, Ram Kumar 13pts, Gopal 12pts) bt Pune Peshwas (Ajinkiya Mane 13pts, Narendera 34pts) (21-19, 38-49, 62-63, 85-81)