UBA Pro Basketball League Season 3: Ram steers Chennai to snatch victory from Punjab’s den
Chennai Slam rode on Ram Gopal’s confidence to beat Punjab Steelers 101-83 in game 1 of the best of three finals of the UBA Pro Basketball League Season 3 at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Friday. The stage was set – a noisy stadium filled with basketball enthusiasts, players’ eyes set on the title, coaches ready with their strategies and emotions running high.
The way the match was turning, it looked like it’ll be anybody’s game, but in the final 2 quarters, Chennai sealed the initiative and got one hand on the trophy. Ram Gopal (34pts) and Agu (20) led the attack for Chennai. It is now up to Punjab to put up a great performance and level the best of three series in Game 2.
The first quarter was very tight and crisp, as both the teams matched each other till the break. It was quite neck-to- neck, with scores almost tied most of the times. Agu and Jairam led the charge for Chennai while it was Harmandeep Singh and Amritpal, who took over the responsibility of scoring for Punjab. By the end of the first quarter, Chennai led narrowly – 20-19.
Chennai conceded a couple of fouls in the first quarter, but they balanced it by scoring points on the other end of the court. In the second quarter, Punjab heavily banked on Chennai’s fouls scoring a couple of points from free throws. Later, Gary Gill and Akhilesh Kumar and both chipped in to put up a strong fight by Punjab.
There were hardly any three pointers as Punjab was swiftly passing through Chennai’s defense by scoring two pointers. Garry come out really strong in the second session as he made some good blocks and also scored a total of nine points. Chennai failed to put up a good fight, as Punjab amassed a comfortable 11-point lead as the scoreboard read 45-34 at the halfway mark.
HT: Chennai Slam 34-45 Punjab Steelers
The third quarter saw Chennai take the driver’s seat courtesy Jairam, Agu and most of all Ram. Having lagged by 11 points at half-time, they came storming out of the blocks in the second half and it was Agu’s 2-pointer that equalized the score at 66-66 at the end of the third quarter. From there, Chennai Slam did not look back and continued their assault on the Steelers and ended up on the winning side by a comfortable 18 points, outscoring their opponents 35-17 in the final quarter.
Ram, with 34 points, was awarded the man of the match. Sportskeeda caught up with an elated Ram, who was surrounded by his team members congratulating him for his heroics. Talking about the match, he said, “We were doing it all wrong in the first and second quarter as we were banking on three pointers. Our coach asked us to shoot from inside the circle which helped us snatch the victory.”
“We have a slight edge over Punjab now, but there is no time to rest. We need to pack up the match and kiss the trophy as soon as possible,” he added.
Chennai will take on Punjab again on Saturday in Game 2 of the best of three finals.
Result: Chennai Slam (Agu 20 pts, Jairam 13pts, Ram Gopal 34 pts) bt Punjab Steelers (Gary Gill 15pts, Akhilesh Kumar 9pts)
(20-19, 34-45, 66-66, 101-83)