Police knock out defending champions Golden GateTimes force Game 3 in the Qualifier after Sri Lankan star Praneeth Udumulagala makes an all-round impact
Nepal Police Club knocked defending champions Golden Gate International Club out of the Nepal Basketball League after Bikash Gurung once again inspired his team in a thumping 90-65 win to take the three-match Eliminator 2-0 on Monday.
Police displayed a perfect team game in the last two quarters where their tall Bangladeshi duo Khaled Mehmood Aakash and Shahinur Rahman Shojib took care of the offensive and defensive rebounds and the home-grown trio of Gurung, Jasang Kunwar and Sudeep Poudel Chhetri beat Golden Gate with their pace in attack.
Times International College, meanwhile, stayed alive in the hunt for direct place in the final after Sri Lankan star Praneet Udumalagala made an allround impact in their second Qualifier game against Tribhuvan Army Club to secure a 81-58 win. Times, who had lost the first game 75-69 on Sunday, will now play the Armymen again on Tuesday for a place in the final.
The loser of Tuesday’s game will play Police in another best of three second Qualifier slated to begin from Wednesday. The final on June 22 will have only one game.
In the first match on Monday, Indian recruit Yogesh Kanderia netted eight and skipper Bipendra Maharjan tossed in seven points as Golden Gate, in a bid to tie the Eliminator after losing the first match 78-72 on Sunday, led the first quarter 21-13. Gurung and Shojib upped their game in the second quarter and accounted for 14 out of 24 points Police scored as they built a 37-30 lead heading into the second half.
Gurung continued his hot streak in the third quarter and netted 11 points as Police dropped in another 33 points and restricted Golden Gate to just eight points for an overall 70-38 lead. Golden Gate had hardly any room left to forge their way back in the final quarter as they needing a whopping 32 points to overturn. They led the final quarter 27-20 but it hardly mattered in the overall outcome.
Gurung won his second consecutive man-of-the-match honour for his 24 points and eight rebounds. He sunk four 3-pointers. Aakash netted 14 and Sunwar chipped in 10 points. Kanderia scored 12 points for Golden Gate.
Times took to the court after a difficult first match on Sunday where they almost overturned a 21-point deficit only to be undone by Army’s patience. On Monday, they began on a positive note taking the first quarter 18-13. A three and a two from skipper Sadish Pradhan built Times a 15-point lead at 34-19 with 4:46 left in the second quarter.
Pradhan netted 10 points in the second quarter as Times went into the second half with a 40-27 lead. Udumalagala stole the show in the third quarter where he scored 11 points. A three from Udumalagala with 16 seconds remaining put Times 60-37 ahead as Times put their one foot in the victory. The third quarter ended with Times leading 21-18.
Udumulagala contributed 21 points, seven assists and seven rebounds for yet another impressive performance. Pradhan also scored 19 points for Times. Ayush Singh remained as the main man for Army scoring 17 points.