City Oilers win UCU Open to show intent

Eye For The Hoop. James Okello powers his way to the hoop for a lay-up against KIU Titans during the UCU Open. PHOTO / ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • That marks two campaigns of the continental showpiece with no Ugandan side. There is, however, action back home and Oilers know how to win here.

City Oilers could have been at the ongoing Basketball Africa League but cut their journey short by pulling out of the last qualification window citing an upsurge in Covid-19 numbers in South Africa, where the tournament was held.

That marks two campaigns of the continental showpiece with no Ugandan side. There is, however, action back home and Oilers know how to win here.

They defeated UCU Canons 66-60 to win the 11th edition of the UCU Invitational Tournament at Uganda Christian University, Mukono over the weekend. Youngster Ruai Ruak was in top form for Mandy Juruni’s charges as they overcame a resilient Canons rallied on by the home crowd.

When he wasn’t pulling up from three-point range, the point guard attacked the basket with purpose and went on to be named the tournament’s MVP.

“It is a pre-season tournament and helps us see the status of the team and evaluate the players we have,” said Juruni told at the end of the two-day event.

New acquisitions Ivan Lumanyika and Francis Azolibe got minutes to forge a chemistry before Friday’s season opener. “We only regrouped two weeks ago so we have to continue getting in shape,” he added. Oilers went unbeaten but were tested by UCU and UPDF Tomahawks in the final and semis respectively.

Three top sides

Even before the UCU Open and before the new season gets underway, it is quite clear the contest will be amongst Oilers, UCU and Namuwongo Blazers.

And the tourney emphasized the same as the three sides took the top three slots. Blazers defeated UPDF Tomahawks to finish third. Steven Nyeko’s charges lost to the hosts at the semi-final stage.

Power didn’t make it while Falcons only lasted one day. Warriors are not even in the top flight and this leaves Blazers and Canons as the only threats to Oilers.

HOW THEY FINISHED

WINNERS - UCU OPEN 
M: City Oilers
W: UCU Lady Canons
Runners-up
M: UCU Canons
W: KIU Rangers
Third place
M: Namuwongo Blazers
W: Angels
MVP
M: Ruai Ruak (City Oilers)
W:  Rose Akon (UCU)
Top Scorers
M: Peter Sifuma (UCU Canons)
W:  Rose Akon (UCU) 

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