Times survive Budhanilkantha scare to reclaim Nepal Basketball League top spot

- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

May 20, 2019-

Times International Club survived Budhanilkantha Municipality Basketball Club scare to reclaim the top spot of the Nepal Basketball League with a fighting 83-77 victory on Monday.

The hard-fought win for Times came after they defeated Golden Gate International Club 78-55 in a match that resumed with 5:10 remaining in the final quarter. The May 16 match between the two teams had to be called off when Times were leading 72-44. Resuming from the same point, Times scored six points, while defending champions Golden Gate managed 11.

Unbeaten Times now have 18 points from their ninth straight victory and have a foot in the playoffs with five matches remaining. Second-placed Tribhuvan Army Club have 17 points from nine games. Golden Gate and Budhanilkantha have 14 points each with the latter playing 10 matches. The top four teams will make it to the playoffs.

In Times' home court in Charkhaal, both teams scored 18 points each in the first quarter before Budhanilkantha gained an upper hand in the game. With 1:15 remaining, Saugat Deep Singh converted two free throws to put Budhanilkantha ahead by 11 points at 39-28. Skipper Sadhish Pradhan and Manish KC soon reduced the gap with two-pointers as the visitors headed into the second half with seven-point cushion.

Pradhan, Mabindra Chhetri and KC scored two each in the beginning of the third quarter to make it a one-point game at 39-38. The hosts then went ahead when Bijay Burja produced a brilliant assist to KC who converted the two-pointer to make 42-41. The game initially looked easy for Times when Pradhan drew a ball in a two he converted and sunk the free throw to make it 58-46 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

Times headed into the final quarter with a 62-53 lead and at one stage headed towards a huge victory when three pointers from Chhetri and Ujen Norbu Gurung coupled with consecutive two-pointers from KC to lead 76-61 with four minutes remaining. Budhanilkantha fought back hard and made it a one-shot game after skipper Biraj Rana's two made 79-77 with 35 seconds remaining.

Times, however, held their nerved and converted four out of six free throws in Budhanilkantha's attempt to take possession of the ball with intentional fouls. Pradhan was the man-of-the-match for his 21 points and four assists.

Burja (16), KC (15), Chhetri (13) and Bikram Joshi (13) all contributed in Times victory. Joshi, named man-of-the-match, against Golden Gate for his  20 points and 27 rebounds, also took 22 rebounds against Budhanilkantha. Saurav Shrestha and Dibesh Bhakta Shrestha rolled in 24 points each for the losing side.

On Tuesday, Army will host Golden Gate in their home leg in Bhadrakali and South Siders Basketball Club will play Nepal Police Club at the St Xavier's College in Maitighar.  


Published: 21-05-2019 06:00

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