City Oilers edge plucky Ndejje as series take inevitable route

Tuesday September 24 2019

Laboured. Landry Ndikumana of City Oilers

Laboured. Landry Ndikumana of City Oilers secures a basket against Ndejje during the Fuba league playoffs at YMCA Wandegeya. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Elvis Senono

Ethiopian Domestic basketball governing body Fuba have not yet entertained the discussion of reducing the teams that qualify for the playoffs from eight to four.
And after Sunday’s National Basketball League (NBL) opening playoff games that discussion could have been shelved even further.
Some of the supposed underdogs lost as expected but as reigning six-time league champions City Oilers and former ladies’ winners KCCA Leopards might attest, their opening games were hardly straight forward.

City Oilers took a 1-0 lead ahead of game two of their best three quarterfinal series but their 83-75 result was achieved the hard way after Ndejje University overcame a 16-point deficit to force overtime.
The second seeded Oilers led 42-26 with just under a minute left in the second quarter before a three pointer from Gauthier Baderha reduced the deficit to 11 points to close out the period.
Some bit of complacency and a refusal to accept defeat saw seventh seeds Ndejje start the third quarter with a 12-3 run that moved them to within four points of the Oilers.

Baderha led that fight back shooting 8 of 15 from the field to finish with a game high 25 points while Innocent Ochera added 16 for the Walker Obedi and Johny Omondi coached side.
But Salim Kisilu failed to connect with his buzzer beater, Oilers experience prevailed with Ben Komakech scoring seven of his team high 18 points in overtime.
Tony Drilleba added 15 and 11 rebounds, James Okello 14 and Josh Johnson 13 points for the Oilers who were without star guard Jimmy Enabu who is pursuing an aviation course.

In the women’s game of the weather affected day at YMCA Court, former winners and second seeds KCCA Leopards also had to grind out a 73-62 win against the seventh seeded Angels who led 57-55 midway through the final period.
Leanne Nalunkuma and Cynthia Irankunda led with 21 and 20 points respectively for KCCA while Failth Onyami and Catherine Amugusut replied with 13 and 12 for Angels.

essenono@ug.nationmedia.com