Basketball

Series down to best-of-three

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Omony (with ball) goes for the hoop as Oilers’ guard Enabu blocks. PHOTO BY Ismail Kezaala 

By ISMAIL DHAKABA KIGONGO

Posted  Sunday, December 8  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Basketball. UCU Lady Canons can reclaim the championship today with victory over KCCA Leopards as they lead 3-1 following a 36-28 win in a dour game

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Kampala.

Even for a team with talent as supreme as Falcons, a two-game deficit might have proved to too big to make up.
Trailing 2-1 to City Oilers in the Castle Lite seven-game series, Friday night’s Game Four meant everything. Win and stay alive.
Lose and hope to win three in a row to reclaim the title.
They knew it and showed it right from the start.

Stephen Omony, like many would have predicted, epitomised their spirit scoring 18 in the first quarter to spark an 86-81 victory.

The record champions tied the series at two-all with Game Five at the Lugogo MTN Arena today.
Though the margin was only 23-19 after the Omony burst, he and his teammates had sent the message.
It was even made louder by forcing Kami Kabangu, 12 points and eight rebounds, into early foul trouble as he accumulated two.

“I kept on thinking about the fouls,” he would latter admit. Falcons, chasing a seventh league title and first since 2007, were largely in control even as Omony faded to finish with 29 points, 10 more than he managed in the 83-73 Game Three loss.

He added seven rebounds, four assists and six steals and had to finish the game as their ball handler as Abdullahi Ramadhan was one of four Falcon players to foul out.

Their already thin roster had been made thinner by the confirmation from coach Gad Eteu earlier in the day that point guard Geoff Omondi would not take any further part in the series.

Omondi hurt his groin in Game One and missed the subsequent contest only be restored to the line-up on Wednesday despite walking with a clear limp.

Revival signs
That meant that Dulah takes even a bigger role in the team. He scored 11 points but the entire team was never too far away from an ejection.

Centre Herbert Arkitah, 10 points and six rebounds, Steven Mwesigye and Serge Kabangu also fouled out. The latter only crowing a poor night worth nine points and seven rebounds. Philip Ameny showed signs of a revival with 14 points and seven rebounds, a finals-high for the Kenyan centre, who has really struggled to get going.

Whereas Oilers had played the better basketball in the first three games, they were never in this and trailed by double-digits for most of the second half. The closest they got was within six points and the final margin.

Injury woes
Guard Jimmy Enabu had 17, a tally matched by Ramadhan Arou, who went down with a hamstring injury.
Coach Mandy Juruni thinks desire cost them and perhaps never really imagined they would go 3-1 up.

“We have to rebound better on Sunday,” Juruni said. Falcons swept the boards 51-41 to compensate for Game Three when Oilers ruled the rebound count at 44-23.

The harsh reality now could be Arou not playing today in a series the league’s newest baby has not gone behind.

ikigongo@ug.nationmedia.com