City Oilers made a strong case about being the greatest domestic basketball side after defeating UCU Canons in the best-of-seven decider to clinch the 2019 National Basketball League title.
At a packed Lugogo Indoor Arena on Sunday evening, the Oilers recorded a 72-57 game result in the Tusker-Lite-sponsored series that made them the most successful side going one clear of Falcons’ six.
They have now won an unprecedented seven consecutive league titles with the latest achieved despite a spate of injuries that left them in arguably their most vulnerable state since they defeated Falcons for their first title in 2013.
The absence of Stephen Omony, Jonathan Egau and Francis Azolibe left them with a size disadvantage.
In Landry Ndikumana , James Okello, Jimmy Enabu and Ben Komakech however they possessed players who have consistently and single handedly won games on their own.
Sunday evening and in two of the other four games the Oilers won in the series, had two-time Zone V MVP Ndikumana in unstoppable mood.
The centre having dropped 29 points to inspire a 79-69 game three victory and 27 points in the 79-72 game two win, shot 10 of 18 from the field to finish with a game high 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Okello added another double-double of 11 points and 17 rebounds while Enabu added 16 points.
“This is the toughest series we have played because we were shorthanded. We had to step up because we had no front court options which is why I played 40 minutes today,” said Okello, one of three players that have played a part in all seven titles. The Canons certainly played their part too in the series after stretching the Oilers for the second time in a final playoff series having also 4-3 in 2015.
David “D-kong” Deng scored a team high 21 points and Titus Lual added 13 for the Canons who had point guard Fayed Bbaale restricted to six points and forced to turn-over the ball four times.
“They are a high energy team. I give them a lot of credit. They played like champions unfortunately there has to be only one winner,” Enabu said of the Nicholas Natuhereza coached UCU.
The Oilers never looked like losing the decider though after taking a 17-9 first quarter lead and managed to keep UCU at arm’s length after Deng threatened a comeback.
“Playing almost every night having to practice when you are thin. It’s tough it takes a lot of mental strength. The body gets beat but you have to kind of pull yourself up,” added Enabu who reckons his team, should be mentioned among the greatest of all time.
“I don’t think any team has won seven and on the bounce,” he said. Even the biggest Oilers critics will be in agreement this time.
PLAYOFF FINALS - GAME SEVEN
City Oilers 72-57 UCU Canons
(Oilers win best of seven series 4-3)
CAST OF WINNERS
2019: City Oilers
2018: City Oilers
2017: City Oilers
2016: City Oilers
2015: City Oilers
2014: City Oilers
2013: City Oilers
2006: Nkumba Marines
2001: Sky Jammers