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UBA Pro Basketball: Mumbai Challengers impress in an emphatic 83-68 win over Punjab Steelers

1.60K   //    21 Feb 2016, 21:55 IST
Nikhil of Mumbai Challengers throws down a two handed dunk in transition against Punjab Steelers
Nikhil of Mumbai Challengers throws down a two-handed dunk in transition against Punjab Steelers

Mumbai Challengers racked up their second win of the UBA with an impressive 83-68 win over a hapless Punjab Steelers side at the Sri Chhatrapati Shivaji stadium in Pune.

Gagandeep Singh top scored for Mumbai with 17 points. Karan Pal Singh and Ranbir Singh scored 15 each. Punjab’s main man Gurvinder Singh was the top scorer for the Steelers with 15 points and Manoj R ended up having 13.

The game started with a block on Punjab’s star man Gurvinder Gill, fondly called “Gary Gill” by everyone and the story of the first half was pretty much symbolic of that block. Punjab Steelers were shunted, blocked and denied every little chance they had by an impressive Mumbai defence.

First Half

Mumbai took an early 8-0 lead and Punjab never really recovered from this early blitz of baskets. Karan pal Singh of Mumbai hit 2 consecutive three pointers in that early lead. Gary Gill was trying his best to get Punjab back on track, but the Mumbai defence took up the challenge of defending and they had 3 blocks against him in the opening exchanges.

When the score was 15-2 in favour of Mumbai, Punjab scored 7 consecutive points cut the difference. Gary Gill played a part in that comeback with a killer dunk that hit the crowd running. Mumbai got better and the comeback didn’t affect them a lot as the first quarter ended 24-8.

The story of the second quarter was pretty much the same, the only difference was Punjab were defending poorly and their offence looked nonexistent. Mumbai went from strength to strength to take a 20 point lead as the half drew to a close.

Mumbai’s Karan Pal Singh was the main man for Mumbai this time with Jagdeep Bains playing second fiddle.

“My seniors gave me full support and even after four fouls early on in the game, they let me play my game” Karan told Sportskeeda after the game.

The moment of the match came when Mumbai’s Nikhil received a long pass from across the court and the forward slam dunked, which even made everyone in the press box high-five each other. By the end of the second quarter, Mumbai were cruising at 47-28.

Karan Pal Singh  Mumbai Challengers  Punjab Steelers
Karan Pal Singh is one of the many offensive weapons that the Mumbai Challengers side boasts of seen here against Punjab Steelers

Second Half

Punjab came back strongly in the second half with 5 consecutive points early on as they cut down the lead to 14 points. Mumbai were getting complacent with such a lead as they were careless with the ball.

Punjab cut the score down to 8 points when Manoj R scored an incredible three and this was coupled with a Gill basket to reduce Mumbai’s lead down to 6.

Mumbai coach PC Anthony was shouting “control control” from the Mumbai dugout as the game was heading for an interesting finish. Mumbai were not rattled as they crawled their way back to the game, not letting the game slip away.

They had a 10 point lead with the score reading 61-51.  

Then came another moment for Nikhil to remember. He hit another dunk and kept hanging in the air for a while. The referee warned him for excessive hanging. Then came the loud cheer from the Mumbai dugout. The photographers were having a ball.

While the Steelers were trying their best to get back into the game, they were no match for the Challengers who eventually ran away with the game. With their second win in as many matches, the Challengers look like one of the teams to beat in the UBA.

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