UBA Pro Basketball League Season 3: Punjab Steelers roar into maiden final, beat Haryana Gold 106-97
Punjab Steelers had already secured a win in the first of the three semi-finals against the Haryana Gold.
Punjab dominated the game since the beginning to enter their first final of the UBA Pro Basketball League Season 3 at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Badminton Court in Pune on Tuesday. Punjab Steelers beat Haryana Gold 106-97 in the second semi-final which was the best of three semis. On Monday, Punjab beat Haryana 88-86 in the first semi-final.
It was indeed a nightmare come true for Haryana as they just couldn’t find their pace in the game. It looked like nothing was working for them. Punjab took an invincible lead in the first quarter. Gary Gill and Akhilesh Kumar started the game on the right foot as Punjab controlled the first quarter 30-17.
It was the worst performance ever by Haryana in the second quarters. The team lacked motivation and their defense was lethargic which was the main reason why Haryana wasn’t able cope up. Even then, Prakash did his best to save the blushes for Haryana. Having scored the most in the second quarters, Prakash Mishra with a total of 16 points but still did not help Haryana to level with Punjab.
On the other hand, their opponents, Punjab, looked unconquerable all the way. It wasn’t ever a one man show for Punjab, as they performed as a team all the way. Punjab duo, Garry and Akhilesh were scoring most of the points. There was a time when Punjab was leading more than 20 points, this mainly damaged Haryana’s impetus. By half-time, Punjab were front runners leading Haryana 51-39
In the third session, Haryana still kept making the same mistakes. None the less, they were trying hard to level, Prakash’s efforts was clearly as he manoeuvring past Punjab’s strong defense to score. At 54-58, it looked like Haryana might level, but things did not fall in place for them.
It was the end of good run for Haryana as they just couldn’t level Punjab in the fourth quarter. Prakash still scored a good number of three-pointers, but it was all in vain. Gary won the man of the match for his all-round performance and 27 points.
Punjab coach Gurkipal Singh’s happiness knew no bounds as his team made to first final so far. “I took over Punjab this session and the same year they enter the semis. I cannot be any happier,” says an elated coach after the match.
As per Gurkipal the puzzles of the jigsaw fell in the right place since the beginning of the match. “We had a plan and the team worked as per it. The boys did a great job,” adds the coach. It was a fairy tale come true for Gurkipal and he made the most of it by dancing to a Punjabi hit tune. He is high on confidence and assures that Punjab will surely win the title.
Result: Punjab Steelers (Gary Gill 27pts, Akhilesh Kumar 21pts) bt Haryana Gold (Prakash Mishra 26pts, Himanshu 21pts) (30-17, 51-39, 78-67, 106-97)