Despite losing their last league game 72-88 to the Bengaluru Kings, the Kochi Tigers won the honors in the opening game of the Indian National Basketball Premier League at the indoor Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Thursday.
With Chennai Heat losing their final game to Chandigarh Warriors 69-83 earlier in the evening, the Tigers were assured of the title even before they faced the Bengaluru Kings in the final league game tonight. The Tigers finished the first leg atop the six-team table with four wins and one loss for a total of nine points. Chandigarh Warriors (3 wins, 2 losses, 8 pts) finished second.
The Tigers were a tired group. In fact, a few of their stars had played for their employer KSEB in a nearby Kerala-wide tournament earlier that evening and it showed in their game.
In this situation, the Tigers have often brought many off the bench. The Tigers led 26-17 in the first quarter, but it was mostly downhill from there. This ultimately made the Kings’ job easier.
The INBL second leg will be held in Jaipur from October 26.
Bengaluru Kings 88 (Abhishek Gowda 18, Arvind Arumugam 15, M. Harish 14, BK. Anil Kumar 13, Pratyanshu Tomar 12) bt Kochi Tigers 72 (Jishnu G. Nair 24, Lalrina Renthlei 13,
Chandigarh Warriors 83 (Sahil 22, Gurbaz Singh Sandhu 21, Palpreet Singh Brar 27) bt Chennai Heat 69 (Mr Arvind Kumar 18, Muin Bek Hafeez 16, B. Soorya 10).
Delhi Dribblers 99 (Rajeev Kumar 24, Rishabh Mathur 20, Piyush Meena 11, Mahipal Singh 20, Gaurav Chandel 20) bt Mumbai Titans 74 (Kuldeep Tamaliya 22 Sayyed Yousuf 15, Sameer Qureshi 13).
Final points table: Kochi Tigers (9 pts), Chandigarh Warriors (8), Chennai Heat (8), Bengaluru Kings (8), Delhi Dribblers (6), Mumbai Titans (6).