By Siddarth Sharma, UBA Columnist
Goa, 16th March, 2017: The UBA Season 4 wound up to a close with a bang with the very first UBA All-Star Game as the North Division All-Stars took on the South Division All-Stars in an exhibition contest. The match was a barn burner from start to finish as the superstars put on an exhibition unlike any seen in India. Slam Dunks were aplenty on both ends as the players gave the crowd plenty to roar for. After a season which saw the teams battle each other with fierce competitiveness, the All-Star Game was the perfect way to cap off the season as players from different teams came together to elevate the game higher and entertain the crowd. In the end, North Division All-Stars came out on top by besting South Division All-Stars 163-155.
The North Division All-Stars started with a lineup of Ronald March, Jagdeep Bains, Alex Scales, De’Sean Mattox and Dermaine Crockrell. The South Division All-Stars fielded a lineup of Agu, Palpreet Brar, Mak Boskailo, Narender Grewal and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi.
An All-Star game is meant to be an exhibition of the players’ skills and they didn’t disappoint as they threw down thunderous dunks and high-flying alley-oops which raised the roof throughout the contest. The first few seconds set the tone for the game as Vishesh lobbed an alley-oop to Mak right after tip-off. It wasn't long before all the players were flying across the court with smiles on their faces as they put on a show. The high fliers lived above the rim and the ground bound players put on a dribbling exhibition. At the end of the first quarter, South Division All Stars held a 48-35 lead over North Division All-Stars. South Division All-Stars were led by 13 points from Tevin Kelly, 8 from Mak Boskailo, and 6 each from Narender Grewal and Siddhant Shinde. North Division All-Stars were led by 8 points from Ronald March and 6 points from De’Sean Mattox.
The second quarter gave the crowd more of the same as the players speeded the game up even more. By the end of the first half North Division All-Stars led South Division All-Stars 80-79. At halftime, the talented rapper Raftaar entertained the sellout crowd. After which the world renowned artist Vilas Nayak painted a masterpiece of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the delight of the crowd. In the third quarter, Ronald March began to separate himself from the rest of the performers with his high-flying dunks as he soared into the air time and time again for powerful dunks. At the end of the third quarter, South Division All-Stars led North Division All-Stars 124-114. Dermaine Crockrell had a number of crowd pleasing dunks as well.
The fourth quarter saw more of the same as the teams battled it out with the clock winding down. In the final minute, UBA CEO and Chairman Tommy Fisher subbed in for a couple of possessions, displaying his true passion for the sport. India's legendary sharpshooter Ram Kumar (now coach of Pune Peshwas) also got a pass on the sidelines as he put up a shot from distance. At the end of the contest, three players finished with over 40 points. The North Division All-Stars put on a strong run in the final minutes as they pulled away to defeat South Division All-Stars 163-155. North Division All-Stars were led by 47 points from Ronald March who put on a dunking clinic and took home the international player of the game honors. All the Indian players were awarded the Indian player of the game honors in this unique expression of the beauty of basketball.
North Division All-Stars (Ronald March 47 pts, Alex Scales 26 pts, De’Sean Mattox 26 points) bt 163-155 South Division All-Stars (Tevin Kelly 43 pts, Mak Boskailo 40 pts, Chris Solomon 15 pts)