JKL expect positive response in Game Four

JKL big Hope Akello attempts to score in Sunday’s 67-62 loss

What you need to know:

The Lady Canons have struggled for offense in the series but Akon remains arguably the best player in the finals. The centre got 25 points and 16 rebounds to lead UCU but it was Agatha Kamwada and Otieno’s 11 points apiece that stood out.

JKL Lady Dolphins had won 25 straight games before Sunday’s National Basketball League Finals Game Three 67-62 loss to UCU Lady Canons.

From finishing the regular season with an 18-0 record, the defending champions swept Nabisunsa 2-0 in the quarterfinals and KCCA 3-0 at the semi-final stage.

Henry Malinga’s charges still lead the finals series 2-1 and will be looking to re-establish their two-game cushion when the action returns at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium tonight.

Focus will be on the kind of response Malinga gets from his side after a first loss of the season.

“There will be a reaction, a positive one,” Malinga told Daily Monitor ahead of Game Four.

“I have a lot of faith and trust in our team,” he added.

The first loss for JKL was the first victory for the Lady Canons in the series and momentum is with the university side going into tonight’s game.

It is, however, JKL, with the most experience in the series and managing pressure should not be a concern.

Players like Flavia Okecho and Ritah Imanishimwe have been here before.

Backs on the wall

The Lady Canons had to dig deep in Game Three. The start was far from ideal for a team 2-0 in a series. It was the two-time champions that started by dominating the first quarter 21-09 and the second 18-16 to lead 39-25 at the half.

Hope Akello and Taudenciah Oluoch were hot and JKL looked destined to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

Nicholas Natuhereza’s charges needed a big second half and got exactly that to recover from a 14-point deficit and win by five.

Rose Akon and Millicent Othieno got going while JKL’s offense stagnated. UCU outscored JKL 42-23 in the second half to win their first game of the series and swing the momentum.

“We stepped off the pedal in the second half and just stopped scoring. We let them come at us and that was the outcome,” Malinga noted.

“They have improved progressively and that is credit to them.

“Let’s see what happens in Game Four, these are playoffs, after all.”

The Lady Canons have struggled for offense in the series but Akon remains arguably the best player in the finals. The centre got 25 points and 16 rebounds to lead UCU but it was Agatha Kamwada and Otieno’s 11 points apiece that stood out. The two will have to provide that kind of productivity tonight for UCU to level matters.

In the men’s final, Namuwongo Blazers must avoid a two-game deficit by levelling the series or they will have dug a hole too deep to come out. City Oilers have not played to their best yet but lead the series 2-1 after Sunday night’s 70-68 victory.

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