Oilers, Canons start Playoffs business

Daniel Monoja of Nam Blazers tries to go past Dombo of City Oilers during the Fuba league game early in the season. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

Oilers finished third to draw a sixth placed Tomahawks side synonymous with physical basketball. The seven-time champions won the regular season encounters but these were well contested by the army side.

One of City Oilers or UCU Canons will not be in the finals. The two sides are on the same road to the finals and must sort themselves out to see who progresses past the semi-final stage.

But they have to get to the last four first and their playoffs journey starts tonight with the defending champions tussling it out with UPDF Tomahawks while the Canons have JKL Dolphins for company.

Oilers finished third to draw a sixth placed Tomahawks side synonymous with physical basketball. The seven-time champions won the regular season encounters but these were well contested by the army side.

Full house

Mandy Juruni’s troops had to negotiate the final stretch of the regular season without the services of some key players. Ivan Lumanyika is still out but both Tonny Drileba and James Okello are back to full fitness and represented Uganda in the Fiba Basketball World Cup Qualifiers in Ivory Coast last weekend.

In UPDF, Oilers face a side with a bit of everything. Talk about the experience and championship mentality of players like Michael Kojjo and Jonathan Egau and the potential of the younger players like David Okello.

It is a team that will fight on every possession and whereas the Oilers are favourites to progress, Baker Kyambadde’s troops will ensure the ride is far from smooth.

Canons ready

The playoffs started on a low note for the UCU family following the Lady Canons’ 52-47 loss to Magic Stormers in game one of the quarter-finals. Another loss in game two tomorrow would see the 2017 champions sent for early holidays.

The men’s team will be hoping to avoid that story line when they face a JKL Dolphins side that has two players in the conversation for best of the regular season.

Both Mabol Makor and Malual Dier averaged 14 points in the regular season and will be a handful for the university side. Makor was also the best rebounder and average 12.

The Canons, however, have the resources to make it through the series and go to the semis. The return of Fayed Baale after a hand injury layoff is the first sign of good things.

The point guard is well known for his command and floor management but has also greatly improved his three-point shooting.

Jerry Kayanga and Peter Sifuma are the other players who stood out in the regular season and will cause problems for the Dolphins.

Titus Lual, Fadhil Chuma and Sudi Ulanga offer the required experience at this level.

The Dolphins ended the regular season by defeating Namuwongo Blazers and will be out for another big catch. 


National Basketball League Playoffs

Playing tonight, Game one (Lugogo)

UCU Canons vs. JKL Dolphins -7pm

City Oilers vs. UPDF -9pm

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.