Sri Lankan Udumalagala shines in Times’ convincing victory

- ADARSHA DHAKAL, Kathmandu

May 23, 2019-

Times International Club’s Sri Lankan recruit Praneeth Udumalagala starred in his second appearance for the club rolling in 24 points that brought the club back to top of the Nepal Basketball League on Wednesday.

The star Sri Lankan player, who joined the league from Times’ ninth match against Budhanilkantha Municipality Basketball Club on Monday, was the biggest contributor in a 95-72 drubbing of lowly Kirtipur Basketball Club. Times have now overtaken Tribhuvan Army Club at the top of the table with 20 points remaining unbeaten in their first 10 matches.

Army also have 19 points from 10, while Golden Gate International Club are third with 15 and Budhanilkantha are one spot behind with 14. The top four teams after the round robin league will make it to the playoffs. Kirtipur are heading towards elimination with just 11 points from their nine matches.

With the experience of playing in the American (NAIA) National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship, Udumalagala is the fifth international recruit in the league which is also joined by Bangladeshi and Indian hoopsters. The 6ft 2in player did the job for Times, who decided to rest most of their first five players in the fourth quarter, made an overall impact with eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Led by national team skipper Sadhish Pradhan, Times took a 26-18 lead in the first quarter and were offered a good challenge by tournament’s youngest side Kirtipur who tied the second quarter 21-21. The lead ballooned to 18 points for Times after they netted 17 in the third quarter and restricted the opponents to just seven.

Times’ domination continued even without their key players in the final quarter with Udumalagala doing most of the damage for Kirtipur at both end of the court. The hosts took the final quarter 31-26 for another comprehensive victory that underlined their title credentials. Mabindra Bhandari also scored 19 points and Bijay Burja netted 18 for Times. Anil Khadgi Shahi scored 22 points and Paras Yonjan poured in 18 for the losing side.

On Thursday, Golden Gate will take on Nepal Police Club, who are fifth in the table with 12 points from eight games, in an away game in Dhumbarahi. In Golfutar, Budhanilkantha will host South Siders Basketball Club in an evening game. Siders are pit bottom with just one victory to their name in nine games.

Published: 23-05-2019 10:08

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