Basketball: Thimphu Magics pulled off a big upset when the team defeated the defending champions Wizards 61-41 in the opening game of the Pepsi A-League Basketball Championship at the Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu yesterday.

The up and coming Thimphu Magics had the upper hand from the beginning of the game. The young team who won the Coronation Cup last year dominated the game throughout with swift passes and high-percentage shots.

Karma Wangchuk from Magics scored 22 points, the highest of the match.

Wizards on the other hand struggled to find their usual game with several miss-passes. The absence of some of the prominent players like Jamyang Namgyel and Clint Chapman added to the hammering of the defending champions.

However, it was the young talents on the team who helped Wizards stay in the game. Kunzang Wangchuk and Jamyang K Singye made 10 points each for the team.

This year the opening ceremony of the third and final season of the Pepsi A-League was observed in a grand manner. A team parade from the top 10 participating teams was followed by an oath taking ceremony. A cultural performance by the Druk Dream Team entertained the gallery that was packed with spectators.

The tournament this year will see each team playing at least 19 games in the league round, making it the longest league organised by the Bhutan Basketball Federation. Team Jumpers and Effects have also been promoted to the A-division after reaching the finals of the B-League last year.

The 49-day tournament will also feature an All Star match on March 25. Two elite players from each team will form two squads and compete in the match.

The first Pepsi A-League trophy was won by Jachungs in 2015. The following year, the title went to the Wizards. If one of the teams wins the championship this year, the rolling trophy will go to either of the team. However, if a new champion is crowned, the trophy will be rolled again.

Meanwhile, in the second game yesterday, Jachungs defeated Pazaps 92-74.

HRH Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuck of team Pazaps made 24 points, the highest in the game .

Younten Tshedup