Judgement day

Nam Blazers Christopher Omanye drives pass Oilers Ben Komakech in the first game of the 2022 Basketball finals at Lugogo. PHOTO/ JOHN BATANUDDE

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All the six games have been close contests to highlight the quality on the Blazers roster but also the pedigree that Oilers ride on. The seven-time champions have had to leave it late with good spells down the stretch in some games, especially Games One and Four.

If City Oilers are the dictator like the Namuwongo Blazers allege, their fate will be known tonight. The trial ends today in a winner-takes-all Game Seven. Oilers can win their eighth championship in eight seasons but the Blazers also have an opportunity to win their first.The last six games will not matter for any of the two sides. It all comes down to Game Seven, the winner of which will take home 5m from lead sponsor Tusker Lite and most importantly the winner’s trophy.All the six games have been close contests to highlight the quality on the Blazers roster but also the pedigree that Oilers ride on. The seven-time champions have had to leave it late with good spells down the stretch in some games, especially Games One and Four.But when the Blazers’ backs were against the wall at 1-3 in the series, they played for their lives and ensured there was a decider. Stephen Nyeko’s charges will be hoping to carry the same vibe and momentum into the last game of the season and walk away with their first championship.“It is the last game of the season and a very important one,” forward Ariel Okall told Daily Monitor ahead of the game.“We shall need a lot of focus and composure,” he added.Focus and composure have eluded the Blazers in some games and they paid the price, how they go about business tonight will decide whether they take the championship on first attempt or wait a little longer.Amisi problemSaidi Amisi has been Blazers’ best player this season but struggled to be a big influence on games in the playoffs. He, however, got his best game of the postseason in Game Six, pummelling the Oilers bigs into foul trouble on his way to 27 points.He was later ejected alongside Oilers’ Francis Azolibe for an altercation but had done the job. The champions must find a way of stopping him, legally to avoid foul trouble. Amisi’s opposite number Azolibe has an appetite for fouls and picked up four in the first quarter of Game Six.“We have not been at our best making stops on these guys,” Oilers tactician Mandy Juruni said.“We have talked about it and it’s time to put it in practice,” he added.Alongside James Okello and Mer Maker, Azolibe and the Oilers must find a way of limiting the Congolese.The injury to Jimmy Enabu took a lot from the Oilers. His willingness and ability to drive to hole and his reliable two-point shot are missing in the Oilers’ offence and it is now up to Tonny Drileba, Ben Komakech and Ivan Muhwezi to get the side over the line.David Deng, Chris Omanye, Paul Odong and Okall have all caused problems for the Oilers and will be in search of their first NBL title.Lady Canons on songThe UCU Lady Canons are the team with momentum on the ladies’ side. They have won the last two games but tonight’s is the most important one. It helps to have the best player in the series on your side and Rose Akon is that player at the moment.The centre has lifted Nicholas Natuhereza’s charges from tough situations this season and will be looking to do that one more time to land her first championship. Her fellow big Bridget Aber had her game of the season in Game Six and will also be looking to keep going.National Basketball LeagueFinals Game Seven (Lugogo)JKL vs. UCU Lady Canons -7pmNam Blazers vs. City Oilers -9pm The Lady Dolphins, however, have all the experience required at this level. In Flavia Okecho, Ritah Imanishimwe and Hope Akello, the two-time winners have assets that can decide a game like this one. Add the athleticism of Brenda Ekone and Evelyn Nakiyinji’s skill set and Henry Malinga has a solid unit for the final game of the season. 


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