Hyderabad/Chennai, 28th February 2017: The shorthanded Pune Peshwas mounted a successful comeback as they defeated the Hyderabad Sky 106-102. Both teams came into this match with a 3-2 record, and the winner of this match would top the division and head to Goa for the semi-finals while the losing team would have to compete in a play-in game to get to the semi-finals.
Pune were without the presence of star centre Amritpal Singh and coach Ram Kumar as they had personal commitments to attend to. Pune Peshwas started with a lineup of Gaurav Ohlan, Siddhant Shinde, Narender Grewal, and Arshpreet Bhullar. They faced Hyderabad’s lineup of Mahesh Padmanabhan, Tevin Kelly, Mak Boskailo, Joginder Singh and Manu Thomas.
Pierre Newton hit the first field goal for Pune with a three pointer, and Mahesh answered him right back. Narender’s free throws pushed the lead to 24-22 in favour of Pune the end of the first quarter. Even though Pune were without Amritpal, Hyderabad chose to attempt 10 three pointers in the first quarter while converting two of them.
The opening minutes of the second quarter resembled a track meet as both teams grinded hard to get hunt for layups. Narender stepped up in by zooming ahead for layups on the break. Pune pushed ahead to their largest lead of the half at 48-40 with less than two minutes left. Joginder hit his fourth three pointer of the quarter to end the half. Pune led Hyderabad 51-46 at halftime.
The teams started the second half by attempting to work the ball inside as the teams exchanged layups. Newton and Kelly entered into a duel as both looked to charge with a head full of steam to the rim on multiple possessions. Hyderabad led Pune 78-77 at the end of the third quarter.
Kelly started the fourth quarter with a crowd pleasing dunk off a bounce pass to himself and he was quick to add two on a layup by twisting around the defence. Hyderabad raced out to a 94-86 lead behind free throws from Kelly with five minutes left in the game. The last few minutes were frantic as Pune tied the game at 94. But Narender and Newton pushed Pune in the final minutes to an inspiring 106-102 win.
Players of the game: Pierre Newton (International), Narender Grewal (Indian)
Pune Peshwas (Pierre Newton 41 pts, Narender Grewal 29 pts, Siddhant Shinde 18 pts) bt 106-102 Hyderabad Sky (Tevin Kelly 45 pts, Mahipal Singh 18 pts, Joginder Singh 15 pts)
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