City Oilers will become the most successful National Basketball League (NBL) team if they defeat UCU Canons when the two teams meet in the best-of-seven playoff finals starting today at Lugogo.
After winning six straight NBL titles, few will give UCU a chance with the Oilers having also edged their previous finals meeting 4-3 in 2015.
The Oilers, who appeared to be at the most vulnerable stage since 2013 because of a thin roster that has been reduced to nine players because of injuries, overcame Warriors 3-1 in the semifinal to restate their ability.
Landry Ndikumana, scoreless in his first 30 minutes emerged with eight points in crunch time to take Game Four away from the Warriros and seal a 49-43 win and more importantly 3-1 result.
James Okello, the other front court option available will be as important for the Oilers who also retain Jimmy Enabu, Ben Komakech and Daniel Jjuuko from the 2015 team. It is the young guards Tony Drileba and Ivan Muhwezi that have carried the team for much of the season particularly in the regular season where they finished behind the Canons.
Only Fadhili Chuma remains from UCU’s 2015 team which coach Nicholas Natuhereza thinks pales slightly in comparison to the current side. “This one is a little deeper, better shooters and a little more balanced,” he described the current roster that will have the exciting Fayed Bbale running the floor.
Like in 2015, UCU have two teams in the final with the Lady Canons seeking to upstage reigning champions JKL Lady Dolphins.
“I would be lying if I said I was 100% sure both teams would reach the final.
“But i knew if we did our work well then we had a chance,” Natuhereza said of having both teams in the finals.
The Lady Canons defeated KCCA Leopards 3-1 following a 79-58 Game Four result while JKL swept KIU Rangers 3-0.
National Basketball League
TODAY - Game one (PLayoff finals)
W: JKL Dolphins vs. UCU Canons
M: City Oilers vs. UCU Canons