KAMPALA. It was the moment that KIU Titans craved. After two seasons of massive recruitment and failure at the semifinal stage, the Kansanga-based side reached their first ever playoff final on Sunday.
For Sudi Ulanga it was even longer.
The guard suffered perennial semifinal heartaches with UCU Canons Power and then KIU since moving from Tanzania and featuring for Falcons in 2010.
That ended on Sunday as the Titans triumphed 74-65 to claim a 3-1 series victory over Pemba Warriors on a hugely emotional day for both victors and losers.
“I felt I really worked so hard to reach the final especially in a year I am captaining KIU,” revealed Ulanga who was overcome with emotion after the game.
KIU have only shone in flashes this season and will certainly be the underdogs against the City Oilers in the final but that will hardly matter to Suudi fot now.
“I feel I’ve made an important step as an individual,” he added.
They were again not at their best against a Pemba Warriors side that led for most of the game and by as many as 15 points midway through the third quarter after losing game three 66-61.
But the Titans battled back winning the final quarter 32-15 after they trailed 22-16 at the end of the first period and 50-42 at the end of the third. They had five players in double figures led by the rejuvenated Ulanga with 15 points.
Ethienne Kazungu added 14 and Michael Bwanga 13 for the Titans.
“The turning point was tying the series at 1-1 because we knew it would be impossible to come from two games down,” said Ulanga who shed tears after the game.
Guard Mark Opio led the Warriors but had a game high seven turnovers before fouling out with 18 points as Syrus Kiviiri added 16.
The former also left the court in tears and had to be restrained by teammates as he threatened to attack umpire Baker Kyambadde after the game.
They were again without Michael Buzangu arguably their best player this season with the forward having played a disappearing act following a disagreement after game two.
In the women’s category UCU ensured there is another final against perennial rivals KCCA following a 74-64 result that sealed a 3-1 series win.