Oilers class shines through first Bal Qualifiers

Monday October 21 2019



Coach Mandy Juruni

Coach Mandy Juruni  

By ELVIS SENONO

Kampala. The biggest news from the Group D preliminary round of qualifiers was always going to be the failure of reigning regional Zone V and six -time Uganda basketball league champions failing to progress past the first stage.
Yet with the quality in their ranks, the thought of that scenario playing out made little or no sense at all.
And in the end they did just what was expected, securing progression to the elite round of 16 before the final game against Rwandan side Patriots late last evening.
The Oilers defeated home side JKT 85-56 for their third straight win of the qualifier held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
“This is what we came for and we have achieved that so thanks to the whole team. The win qualifies us to the next round
This was a tricky game. It was a home game. The start was a bit tough for us. The other team played well and the crowd came in and they kept going,” coach Mandy Juruni said after the game. They made a slow start trailing 18-9 after the first quarter and had Jordin Mayes and James Okello in foul trouble by the time they took a 42-36 half time lead led by as many as 23 going into the fourth quarter.
“The adjustment that we made was to play our game and stay composed, look for our best options which were inside and I think we did that pretty well and it brought us back into the game,” Juruni added.
Shooting guard Robinson Opong scored a game high 29 points and picked six rebounds while two-time Zone 5 MVP Landry Ndikumana recorded another double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
City Oilers and Patriots who topped the qualifier in Tanzania, will join the top two teams from five other groups to advance to the next round of the qualifying tournament – Elite 16.
They will be joined by four wild card teams to make up the 16 teams.