Few will argue that City Oilers, Betway Power, KIU Titans and Pemba Warriors the four remaining teams in this season’s men National Basketball League playoffs are the best in the division.
Top seeded Pemba Warriors made sure of that categorisation by easing into the semifinals with a 79-64 decisive game three win over JKL Dolphins at YMCA on Wednesday evening.
The 2-1 series result completed two eagerly anticipated semifinal matchups that start today with City Oilers testing Power while KIU square up to the Warriors at the Lugogo Arena.
Three of the four are former winners with City Oilers chasing a fifth straight title against a Power side that won the last of their five titles in 2011.
They came into the post season as second seeds following a 17 -5 record and easily swept past Our Saviour 2-0 in their best of three quarterfinal series. Despite losing both regular season meetings against Power 60-56 and 75-70, Oilers remain the team to beat having never lost in 12 playoff series since making their debut in 2013.
They have also defeated Power in the playoffs each of those four seasons including a 4-1 finals defeat and a 4-0 series whitewash in 2014.
Power coach Arnold Lando though is hopeful his side can use their size advantage this time round.
“Their front court is not as dominant and hopefully we can bank on that,” Lando noted.
The other game features KIU against 2009 and 2012 champions Warriors that cruised to a 20-2 regular season record but only confirmed their place after JKL had forced Wednesday’s decider.
There were never doubts about the winner once Warriors took a 21-11 first quarter lead and 62-38 after the third period.
Michael Buzangu crowned the performance with a playoff high 30 points before JKL gave the score a more respectable look winning the final period 26-17.
KIU on the other hand have appeared liberated since Brian Wathum replaced Hamza Nyambogo as coach with Sudi Ulanga and Ethienne Kazungu averaging 18 and 12 points respectively from the quarterfinals series as they seek a first finals appearance.
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE BEST OF FIVE SEMI FINALS SERIES - Today at LUGOGO
Women: KCCA vs. A1 Challenge
Men: Power vs. Oilers 7.00pm
Pemba Warriors vs. KIU Titans 9.00pm