UBA Pro Basketball League season 3: Punjab Steelers steal narrow win over Haryana Gold in first game of the semi-final
With over 100 seconds to go and eight points ahead Haryana Gold could have taken the day’s honours. But, their approach of going slow in the last few seconds cost them dearly as Punjab Steelers snatched an 88-86 victory, to go 1-0 up in this best-of-three semifinal of the UBA Professional Basketball League, at the badminton hall, Balewadi sports complex in Pune on Monday.
Punjab who were without the service of, Sagar Joshi, their main defender and the main striker Irakoze Kavakure Bryan, were trailing in the entire match for the first time in the championship against their arch rivals Haryana.
Tied at 86-86 with 22 seconds for the final whistle, Garry Gill snatched a ball from Haryana defender and raced towards the basket, but failed in his attempt, Harmdeep Singh who was lurking behind snatched the rebound the snapped the two-point with just two seconds to go for the whistle.
“We did not have Sagar and Bryan who are main players, but dispute the set back the boys played well, and most importantly they captalised on the game plan lapses of the rivals who resorted to slow down the game as they were leading by eight points, ,” said Gurkripal Singh, the Punjab coach after the match.
Yes, Garry, Harmandeep Singh and Kuldeep Tita Singh were exceptional on the court, and especially Tita, who was rightly adjudged as the man of the match for his all-round performance.
Punjab were trailing in all the three sessions of the match. "The boys failed to come up with their best, and it was because of the absence of Sagar who has been the livewire of the side," said coach. Sagar is out of groin injury while Bryan out of action due to viral fever. “We hope Sagar will be fit for the next match and about Bryan I am not sure,” opined Gurkripal Singh.
Haryana did have a good outing. Leading them from the front was Mayur Bhat. He was well supported by Jaskaran and Prakash Mishra who were good in intercepting their rivals. But all hell broke loose when they resorted to slow the pace of the game. There were times when they even led by ten points. “It did not happen what we excepted and back fired on us,” said Pawan Kumar, the Haryana coach. But assured a better showdown when they meet again in this best of three semifinal format. “We still have a match to score level and We will give it back,” cautioned Pawan Kumar about their rivals.
Result: Punjab Steelers: 88 (Garry Gill 19, Kuldeep Tita Singh 18, Rajveer Singh 15, Harmandeep Singh 14) bt Haryana Gold: 86 (Mayur Bhat 16, Prakash Mishra 13, Jaskaran 13)