Punjab Steelers win thriller against Haryana Gold

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25th July – Balewadi Stadium, Pune: In a thrilling playoff game of the third season of the UBA Pro Basketball League, Punjab Steelers edged past Haryana Gold 88-86 on Monday afternoon.

Punjab Steeler’s Tita’s performance proved to be the difference between the two sides as it helped them rally back after being under the cosh for the major duration of the game.

Punjab Steelers and Haryana Gold both began the game in attacking mode, with Haryana Gold just nudging ahead 27-26. Punjab Steelers had managed to take the lead initially in the first quarter and took 10 points from turnovers in the first quarter but Haryana Gold didn’t give up and managed to take a point’s lead.

In the second quarter, Haryana Gold kept up the pressure and Punjab Steelers played catch-up. Harman shone for Punjab in this quarter with some crucial blocks and points as Punjab drew level at 37-37 with just over five minutes left in the second quarter. For Haryana Gold, Rajat was the star player till now and had to take more responsibility as Jaskaran had already committed three fouls.

The Haryana Gold were able to wrest back the initiative in the later stages of the quarter and finished the second quarter leading 51-46 after letting Punjab Steelers back in the game in the last minute.

The third quarter belonged to Haryana Gold and their players looked more lively and agile despite Punjab Steelers having had two days off and Haryana Gold playing a game yesterday. With 5 minutes left in the quarter, Haryana had a lead of more than 10 points and they maintained that lead consistently for the majority of the quarter.

Punjab Steelers looked out of sorts in this quarter and failed to take advantage of Jaskaran’s absence. Haryana Gold finished the third quarter leading 72-60 and the Punjab players needed to come up with something special to overturn the deficit.

In the final quarter, Punjab Steelers displayed some fighting spirit to bring the game alive. Akhilesh and Tita were the best players for Punjab in this quarter and it helped them trim Haryana Gold’s lead to 3 with 1 minute and 38 seconds left.

Tita then helped his side level the scores and the game was now poised for a thrilling finish. With 19 seconds left, both teams were tied at 86-86. Punjab Steelers then again took the lead and a crucial block by Garry meant that Punjab just about crossed the line.

Punjab Steelers 88 Haryana Gold 86 

Punjab Steelers 88 (Garry 19, Tita 18 Rajveer 15)  &  Haryana Gold 86 (Mayur 16, Jaskaran 13, Prakash 13)