Blazers in Titan-ic clash

Up for the clash: Michael Bwanga of KIU Titans will be up against Deng (right) of Nam Blazers when the two sides meet at UCU in Mukono today. PHOTOS/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • Top clash: The two sides look rich on paper but must translate that on court to challenge the Oilers, who have won the last seven championships.
  • 3.5: Michael Bwanga is averaging 3.5 points and 3 rebounds for the Titans while David Deng is averaging 15 points and six rebounds for the Blazers. 

Both Namuwongo Blazers and KIU Titans want to be considered serious contenders for this year’s National Basketball League (NBL).
The two sides look rich on paper but must translate that on court to challenge a City Oilers side that has won the last seven championships.

When the two sides clash at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) court in Mukono today, attention will be on the progress made by two of the best assembled rosters in the division.

The Blazers responded well to a boardroom defeat to the Oilers and the surprise loss to KCCA Panthers by beating Ndejje Angels and Falcons last weekend to rediscover their winning touch.

David Kongor Deng, who is averaging 15 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, has hit the ground running with the newly promoted side and poured in 22 points against Ndejje.

The forward is slowly becoming the team’s most trusted weapon on offence and will worry the Titans’ defence with his athleticism in open court and decent shot. He shot seven of 14 from two-point range and two of eight from beyond the arc against Ndejje.

Emmanuel Okumu, Paul Odong and Francis Azolibe are the other names that have stood out for Steven Nyeko’s charges so far.
“We expect a tough game from KIU but we have prepared well and ready for the challenge,” Nyeko told Score.

Titans stake claim
For the Titans, the 85-78 win over UCU brought out the best of the side. Guard Faisal Aden reminded everyone who might have had doubts about what he is capable of doing.

The Canons had a healthy seven-point advantage in the fourth quarter and the Somalian needed two possessions to extinguish it with two threes enroute to a game high 27 points.

The other two of the big three at KIU, Michael Bwanga and Ariel Okall, added 14 and eight points respectively as Brian Wathum’s charges recovered from that humbling loss to JKL Dolphins.

Sharing the ball and better defence is what Wathum is demanding of his troops.
“We have relied so much on our offence in the last games but our defence must be better,” Wathum said ahead of the clash.

For teams that have won championships before, this is just another regular season game but to both Blazers and Titans, it is a game to enhance reputations and confidence with the post season in sight.

Power seek first win
Betway Power will be searching for their first win of the season when they take on UPDF Tomahawks.
The five-time champions occupy the last spot on the log and will be more worried about surviving the knife than getting to the playoffs.

The Isaac Afrida-led Power have conceded an average of 80 points per game with a low shooting return averaging about 51 points per game. 
The stats are not quite reassuring for Power but will instead give the Tomahawks belief that they can boost their own belief in making the playoffs with a third win in four games.

Today at UCU Court 
Angels     vs.    Leopards    10am
Power     vs.     UPDF    12pm
JKL     vs.     KIU Rangers     2pm
Blazers     vs.     KIU Titans    4pm
Sunday At KIU Court
Angels     vs.     Nkumba    10am
JKL Dolphins     vs.     Ndejje    12pm
Nabisunsa     vs.     KIU Rangers    2pm
KIU Titans     vs.     UPDF    4pm.