Chennai Slam vs Bengaluru Beast
UBA Season 4: Playing in front of their home crowd, Chennai Slam put the Bengaluru Beast away as Agu explodes for 50
16th February, 2017: The first game of the UBA double-header on the 16th was a barn burner from the start to finish as the contest between Hyderabad Sky and Pune Peshwas presented a tough act to follow. But the fierce battle between the star-studded Bengaluru Beast and home-team Chennai Slam gave the crowd all they could handle.
Chennai had made a strong case for hosting the UBA seeing as defending champions Chennai Slam have been the most successful franchise in the League, having made it to the finals thrice and having won the title twice. They also made it to the finals in Season 2 where they were bested by Delhi Capitals. They featured newcomer Brendon Pineda-Morales from the USA who's won the National Junior College Association Championship with Phoenix (Junior) College in USA. Their starting line-up included Agu Chukwunanu, Ram Kumar, Brendon Pineda-Morales, Rikin Pethani and Jairam Jat.
Bengaluru Beast are bringing considerable star-power to the fourth season. Newcomer Chris Solomon has played professionally in Italy and Spain, and his father happens to be from New Delhi.
Two of Indian national team's most versatile talents also make their much-awaited debut in the UBA, namely Palpreet Brar from the Ludhiana Basketball Academy who was drafted by the NBA D-League team Long Island Nets and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi from Varanasi who's captained India to many triumphs. Bengaluru started off with Chris Solomon, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Visu Palani, Palpreet Brar and Pratham Singh.
Vishesh scored his first basket in the UBA with a silky jumper off a pick and pop. Palpreet made his presence known by blocking Brendon as Loveneet took the ball the other way for a beautiful heave to Vishesh for his second bucket. Jairam Jat, who had a 31 point game in the UBA Season last year, answered right back with a 3. Solomon then got two back with a double clutch layup. The back and forth affair continued as the end of the first quarter saw the Bengaluru Beast lead 30-25.
In the second quarter, Agu decided to seize the Beast by the horns as he exploded for 21 points. Chris Solomon almost blew the roof off the building with a missed dunk in the second as he was fouled. Agu kept the pedal on the metal with his relentless drives and Chennai tried to increase the lead which was up to 58-47 at a time, but Bengaluru were far from done as they chipped the lead down to single digits. Vishesh assisted on a three, drove in for a layup and hit a three of his own. At halftime, Chennai led 62-58 behind Agu's 25 points. The third quarter saw Palpreet come back on the floor and he promptly slammed the ball home and put Bengaluru up 67-66. Chennai stuck to their game-plan and rode Agu who got to 42 points with a few seconds left in the third quarter,
giving him the UBA scoring record. Vishesh ended the third quarter with a heady play, drawing a foul on a three point attempt. Chennai led 95-88 to close the third quarter. Brendon had had enough of missing slams and he threw down two emphatic dunks to open the fourth quarter. Pratham Singh's pair of threes got Bengaluru close as Agu and Vishesh continued their duel. But the two stars fouled out in the final minutes. In the final minute, Kaif Zia hit a clutch three to bring the Beast to 117-120 but free throws by Jairam put the game away as Chennai emerged victorious on home court in a thrilling encounter.
Player of the game: Agu Chukwunanu (International), Jairam Jat (Indian)
Chennai Slam (Agu Chukwunanu 50, Brendon Pineda-Morales 29, Jairam Jat 20) bt Bengaluru Beast
123-119 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 41, Chris Solomon 32, Pratham Singh 15)