KBL 2018: Kirtipur suffer major blow; Army unbeaten run continues


Kirtipur’s hunt for play-off place of the Kwik’s Basketball League (KBL) 2018 suffered a major setback after losing to strugglers, BMC South Siders.

Kirtipur desperately needed the win to keep themselves in the running for the top four finish. But the hosts, BMC South Siders, brought out one of their best performances to dent Kirtipur’s dream.

Siders’ guard, Rabin Gautam, has thoroughly enjoyed the chance of a place in the starting five in the absence of senior player, Sanjay Byanjankar Sr.. He impressed in Sider’s previous match against against Goldengate despite the loss and did one better this time.

Gautam started out with a 3-point play, scored two 3-pointers moments later and topped it off with a lay-up to give the hosts 7 point lead at the end of the first quarter.

While, Siders’ experienced players, Subrat Rajopadhyaya and Sanjay Byanjankar Jr. did well to get in the way of Kirtipur’s big men, Sumanga Bogati and Diveshwar Shah. Unfortunately, Bogati and Shah couldn’t play to their usual strength with Rajopadhyaya and Byanjankar Jr. guarding the low post.

Kirtipur did improve in the second quarter and closed the gap though. And by third quarter they were on a equal footing. But Gautam along with Rajopadhyaya and Byanjankar Jr. made sure, in the end, that Siders got their second win.

Unfortunately, for the Kirtipur, without Bogati and Shah making much contribution in scoring it was difficult for them to keep up with the hosts.

Final score: Siders 67-57 Kirtipur (Box score)

Rabin Gautam went on to score 33 points as well as adding 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist to his name. Gautam was awarded Player of the Game prize for his contributions. While Rajopadhyaya managed to get the double double (14 points and 18 rebounds), his first in KBL 2018.

Rabin Gautam (left) receiving Player of the Game prize from NeBA referee, Sunil Lama.

For the visitors, Anil Khadgi and Abhisekh Singh scored 18 points each but only 2 came from their big men.

Kirtipur head coach Rabindra Maharjan said that it was a vital game but couldn’t match Siders physically. However, he is still hopeful of finishing in the top four. “It will be difficult (though)”, he added.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Byanjankar Sr. who was in charge of Siders in the absence of head coach, Ashish KC, said, that good performance from their youngsters and experienced players today got them the win.

In the early fixture of the day, Tribhuvan Army Club fought off a tough battle at Galfutar to take their unbeaten run to nine matches.

Budhanilakantha who were the only team to put up a good fight against the Army Club prior to this match, once again did the same but then didn’t have enough to cause an upset.

Budhanilakantha had impressed with their 3-point shooting in their previous meeting with the Army Club. This time round it was their inside game…specially Biraj Rana who went on to score 31 individual points.

However, when push came to shove, Army Club had just a bit too much fire power squeeze the win. Army Club were on the back foot in the first quarter but made a comeback to win in the end.

Rabin Khatri and Binod Maharjan got the double double in Army Club’s win. Rabin Khatri received the Player of the Game prize for his contributions. This is the fourth time he has received the prize in KBL 2018.

Final score: Budhanilakantha 84-89 Army (box score).

ALSO READ  KBL 2018: Kirtipur still in the hunt for play-offs; Army Club still unbeaten