February 17, 2016

UBA Basketball League - with teams from around India - returns bigger and better for Season 2

Indian basketball players rejoice! Season 2 of the UBA Basketball League, is all set to be held between February 18th to April 3rd, 2016. The two phase event featuring professional eight teams representing teams from around the country is to be held at Pune’s Balewadi Stadium and Hyderabad’ Gachibowli Stadium. The league will be telecast live on Ten network channels: Ten Sports, Ten Action, and Ten HD.

With the objective of promoting basketball among the sports lovers, the United Basketball Alliance India (P) Ltd. (UBA India), has initiated a professional league that provides the young and experienced players, a platform to express themselves on the court. The league comprises of eight professional teams from different cities of India, which compete over the course of two months emerge as the Champions of the Season 2. The participating teams are: Pune Peshwas, Hyderabad Sky, Chennai Slam, Punjab Steelers, Bengaluru Beast, Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold and Mumbai Challengers.

Speaking about the League, Todd Mack, Managing Director of UBA India, said, "Pro Basketball League is the platform, much needed for basketball players in India, who aspire to make it big in the sport. UBA provides these young players, an opportunity to test their skills at a professional level. Additionally, the best players from the League get an opportunity to train outside India, and rub shoulders with some of the big names of the sport, from around the world."

Olympic medallist boxer MC Mary Kom and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty will grace the opening ceremony on Thursday, 18th February as chief guests at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is extending its support to this event, and former international player, Norman Isaac of BFI, will be the Technical Commissioner of the League.

UBA has partnered with Emmy Award winning broadcaster Paul Crane who has covered sports at the highest levels in the United States for over three decades, to present the Pro Basketball League 2016. Steve Graham, executive producer of the League, has been involved with six past Olympic Games, international triathlons, auto racing and international volleyball games in his career.

The complete schedule of games in Pune and Hyderabad, including the semi-finals and finals, have been posted on Ekalavayas.com. You should head over to their report to also find a complete breakdown of all the eight participating rosters. The teams have been divided into North and South divisions, and each team will play four games: three against their division opponents and one cross-division match. In preparation for the second season, UBA held selection tryouts at the Jain International Residential School in Bengaluru earlier this week with 195 young players from all over India to form new squads before the league tips off.

Some notes of interest on the various participating teams:

South Division
  • Prasanna Jayasankar, a former India women’s captain, is the coach of Bengaluru Beast.
  • Current India international, Narender Grewal will be suiting up for the Pune Peshwas. The Peshwas lost in the finals of Season 1 of the league last year to Chennai. They will have home support in the opening stage of the league.
  • Chennai Slam are the reigning champions and feature the talented Nigerian player Chukwunanu Agu.
  • Hyderabad Sky feature veteran international point guard Joginder Singh.
North Division
  • Renowned women’s coach Shiba Maggon will be leading Haryana Gold. The team also features talented names like Ashiv Jain and Sanjeev Kumar.
  • Delhi Capitals have added Indian international Vinay Kaushik to their roster.
  • Mumbai Challengers feature former India international star Jagdeep Singh Bains, as well as guard Ranbir Singh. Up-and-comer Prudhvi Reddy is also part of the Mumbai squad, which is being coached by former India junior coach PC Antony.
  • Promising young big man Gurvinder Singh Gill will highlight the Punjab Steelers team, who will be without last year's MVP Ravi Bhardwaj.

Will Chennai repeat it's crown? The most stacked squad this year seems to be Mumbai, but the Slam have veteran stars who have tasted the success of winning from Season 1 already. Punjab's fortunes will depend heavily on the shoulders of young man Gill, and don't sleep on Haryana causing some havoc with their young talent, too.

Season 2 has returned bigger than ever, and having the games broadcast live on Ten Sports etc. will be a major step in ensuring that basketball action gets more attention from casual mainstream fans. Hopefully, the league can feature exciting moments to showcase India's ever-deepening pool of basketball talent. Several of the top international level Indian players have still not signed up for this league, but as it gets bigger, I'm sure that they will give it some consideration, especially since there is no other full-time professional basketball league option in India.


  1. So is this the first real real pro league in India or is there some other one we're waiting for? Cause we keep saying we don't have a pro league but this tournament is in its second season which means we do have a pro league right?

    1. Good question. This is a short-term pro-league I think, because I don't have any evidence yet that ALL the participating players (not just the top ones) earn a full-time salary. I guess I would call it a proper pro league if all the players are full-time professionals, which I don't think it's yet (I may be proved wrong later).

      This can certainly grow into the first league we have been waiting for, or the BFI can get its act together and launch a bigger national league that features India's top players.

  2. Yeah i understand. BFI really needs to steep up cause as we keep saying, its the game and the players that suffer the most - people at the top don't even give a damn about the sport! At least we have something to begin with. Its a decent foundation and its great UBA is doing this!

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