Ndejje against UCU Canons was the final many had anticipated as the draws for the first edition of the Zuku University Basketball League (ZUBL) were made two months ago.
Few, however, would have predicted the ease with which Ndejje eventually claimed the men’s title, winning 61-45 as the ZUBL climaxed at Lugogo on Saturday.
“It took everything we had as a team to win this,” Jonah Otim (11 points) told the Daily Monitor after being announced MVP. “It was not as easy as people think and we had to rely on our experience to help us through,” he said. Not much of his effort was required though as a classic team performance saw James Okello score a game high 15 points with Geoffrey Soro and Brian Oduor adding 14 and 13 respectively.
After dominating the first quarter (20-5), Ndejje had to hold off a 14-0 run from UCU in the second quarter before claiming the final two quarters 17-7 and 15-11.
The win which guaranteed Ndejje Shs.2.7m as winner was the side’s second over UCU after its 55-53 narrow conference victory earlier in the campaign.
Before that though, Makerere University (Mak) won the ladies’ crown edging UCU 90-87 in a dramatic final. “Credit should go to Joy (Chemtai) and Sylvia (Nakazibwe) because they drove us forward,” said Claire Lamunu, the eventual MVP award.
Despite Maureen Amoding and Purity Odhiambo’s (29 and 28 points respectively), the pair could not lead UCU to victory over a team that they had twice defeated in the regular season. “Some umpires come to games with intentions of helping one side win,” a bitter UCU coach Boniface Okello who was ejected during the game said after his side’s loss.
Most Valuable Players (MVP)
Men: Jonah otim (Ndejje University)
Women: Claire Lamunu (Makerere University)
Best defensive player (women):
Best defensive player (men):
Best offensive player (men):
Best offensive player (women):
Men: UCU Canons 45 - 61 Ndejje
Women: UCU 87 - 90 MAK