August 2, 2016

Chennai Slam claim UBA Basketball League Season 3 title


Only in its third season in two years, the UBA Basketball League is still a new association, and like any new project, it has taken time to show it's most reliable trends with such a small sample. But by the time that Season 3 of the league finished in Pune's Balewadi Stadium last weekend, one thing was clear: history will remember the Chennai Slam as the early powerhouse that dominated UBA Basketball in its infancy.

Chennai have played in all three Finals of the UBA Basketball League, and with a 2-1 victory in the best-of-three series against first-time finalists Punjab Steelers, they won their second title. In the deciding Game 3 of the UBA Finals, Chennai eased past Punjab 69-59 on Sunday, July 31st.

Season 3 of the league was held from July 15-31 in Pune and featured the original eight teams. Chennai had won the Season 1 title against the Pune Peshwas, lost Season 2 in the Finals to the Delhi Capitals, and regained their spot at the top in the league's most recent iteration.

Punjab had the better start to the Finals, leading by 11 at halftime of Game 1. But Chennai showed their grit and experience behind strong scoring outbursts by Gopal Ram (34), Agu Chukwunanu (20) and Cammy Joseph (19) to win 101-83. Amritpal Singh of Punjab Steelers had 23 in the loss. Punjab played better in Game 2, and while Chukwunanu (27) steered Chennai to a huge comeback, the Steelers survived to win 83-81 and tie the series 1-1. Akhilesh Kumar finished with 19 in the win. With all to play for in Game 3, Chennai showed calm under pressure, relying on their defense to clamp down their opponents and seal the title with a 69-59 victory.

Chennai Slam were awarded with a cheque of Ten Lakh rupees for their winning performance and Punjab Steelers with Five Lakh rupees.

Narender Grewal of the Pune Peshwas, the highest-scoring player in the tournament, was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Season 3. Gurvinder Singh 'Garry' Gill (Punjab), Agu Chukwunanu (Chennai), Season 2 MVP Vinay Kaushik (Delhi), and Siddhanth Shinde (Pune) rounded up the All UBA First Team for Season 3.

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