Roles reversed as UCU Canons use siege mentality to edge City Oilers

Friday November 29 2019

Canons’ Peter Sifuma (L) goes for the hoop as

Canons’ Peter Sifuma (L) goes for the hoop as James Okello tries to block. PHOTOS BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By ELVIS SENONO

City Oilers developed a siege mentality on their way to record six straight National Basketball League titles, a classic case in point happening in the 2015 playoff final which they edged UCU Canons 4-3.
After witnessing wild celebrations on YMCA court as UCU forced a decisive Game Seven, the Oilers returned to the same court 24 hours later, using their experience to deliver a composed 78-67 result.
Adding three more titles has hardly made them any more popular.
And they looked set to benefit from the scenario with the majority of the crowd favouring UCU as they met in Game One of the 2019 Fuba National Basketball League playoff finals at the Lugogo Arena on Wednesday evening.
Instead the roles were reversed with UCU using what many thought was a harsh decision by officials led by Baker Kyamabdde to eject coach Nicholas Natuhereza in the second quarter, as motivation to grind out a 67-59 game one win.
Titus Lual led UCU with 15 points with Fayed Baale, Isaiah Ater, Fadhili Chuma all contributing significantly with 14, 12 and 11 points respectively.
This promises to be a tight and fascinating series as evidenced for much of game one in which James Okello scored a game high17 points and tony Drileba 15 for the Oilers.
The sight however of the youthful Baale driving past the tired looking Oilers late in the fourth quarter means the Canons will have an advantage in that regard against a team that is down to nine players because of injuries.
But like evidenced in the semifinals against Warriors, the Oilers are rarely shaken and will look to exploit UCU Canons’ volatility that saw David Kongor Deng also ejected in the game.
The men’s series will also break off after three games which could allow the trailing team recovery time till next year.
The women’s series will meanwhile not break off with UCU Lady Canons looking to take a 2-0 lead after the 71-69 Game One victory over reigning champions JKL Lady Dolphins decided by Priscilla Abei’s put-back.

FUBA PLAYOFF FINALS
WEDNESDAY GAME ONE RESULTS
JKL Dolphins 69-71 UCU Canons
UCU Canons 67-59 City Oilers
TODAY AT LUGOGO - GAME TWO
W: UCU vs. JKL Lady Dolphins
(UCU lead best of seven series 1-0)
M: City Oilers vs. UCU Canons
(UCU lead best of seven series 1-0)

NATUHEREZA MISHAP
Ejected. Roles were reversed with UCU using what many thought was a harsh decision by officials led by Baker Kyamabdde to eject coach Nicholas Natuhereza in the second quarter, as motivation to grind out a 67-59 win.