By Siddarth Sharma, UBA Columnist
Chennai, 26th February, 2017: Bengaluru Beast snatched their second win of the season as they blitzed Pune Peshwas for a 93-91 win as Vishesh Bhriguvanshi put up the first triple-double in the UBA with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Pune started with a lineup of Pierre Newton, Mane, Amritpal Singh, Siddhant Shinde and Narender Grewal. Bengaluru Beast fielded a lineup of Visu Palani, Palpreet Brar, Raghuram, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Pratham Singh. They were without Manprit, who was sitting this one out owing to a knee injury.
Bengaluru came out of the gate with a strong sense of urgency as they were going up against the division leaders. Bengaluru came out of the gate with a strong sense of urgency as they were going up against the division leaders. Mane opened up the scoring for Pune with a purposeful drive and Visu answered right back with a basket off a spin move. Solomon came into the game after just one minute of action as he replaced Raghuram and he wasted no time in sinking a three. Amritpal sunk one from inside and Vishesh got two back as he drove around half of Pune for a layup. He followed it with a strong drive to pull the defence towards him before dishing it back to Palpreet. Bengaluru took a 15-8 lead over Pune off another basket from Palpreet halfway into the quarter. The end of the first quarter saw Bengaluru hold on to a 26-20 lead behind Palpreet’s 8 points. Pune were led by Amritpal’s 6 points.
Vishesh opened the second quarter with a three pointer from the corner and he added two more on the break as Bengaluru built a 31-20 lead. The crowd were treated to a duel of India’s premiere big men in Amritpal and Palpreet in this game as the two giants went at each other with gusto on both ends. Palpreet anchored Bengaluru in the middle as they were able to push ahead to a 13 point lead behind Vishesh’s three pointer. Solomon added another and Bengaluru found themselves leading 39-23 halfway into the second quarter. Vishesh ended the second quarter with a buzzer beating three pointer as an exclamation mark on an excellent half for Bengaluru. Bengaluru led Pune 48-34 at halftime, behind Vishesh’s 15 points. He also shot 3 of 4 from downtown while putting up 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
Before the match, Palpreet had said, “We didn’t perform earlier but this match is crucial, we need to win and we will win. UBA is the first pro league in India. It will be amazing for basketball to see it grow.”
Pune Coach Ram Kumar said at the half, “Our shooting is not clicking, but we’ll do a better job in the second half. We’ll also create more looks for Amritpal.”
Palpreet hit a beautiful turnaround fadeaway to start the third quarter. Pune had a five point trip down the court to bring them within 51-41. Chris Solomon converted an and-one play to push them ahead further and Vishesh added a series of and-one plays at the rim to push Bengaluru’s lead to 67-54 with 3 minutes left in the third. Amritpal tipped in a missed shot to bring Pune within 9, but Palpreet pushed the lead to double digits again. At the end of the third quarter, Bengaluru led Pune 75-61. Amritpal had 16 points in the third quarter to keep Pune within striking distance.
Bengaluru seemed determined to attack Amritpal as he had 4 fouls. They kept a double digit lead for most of the fourth until Pune cut the lead to 82-74 behind two from Shinde in the open court. Narender hit a three pointer to bring Pune within 84-80 and Amritpal hit a three to bring Pune within onet a free throw to tie the game at 84 with 2:40 remaining in the game. Vishesh drew a foul on Amritpal to foul out Pune’s biggest weapon with 43 seconds left and Solomon hit a pair of free throws to give Bengaluru a 93-91 lead as they pulled out an inspiring win.
Players of the Game: Chris Solomon (International), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Indian)
Bengaluru Beast (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 29 pts, Chris Solomon 27 pts, Palpreet Brar 17 pts) bt Pune Peshwas 93-91 (Amritpal Singh 33 pts, Pierre Newton 19 pts, Narender Grewal 16 pts)