What you need to know:
- Tusker Lite Player of the Game Tony Drileba’s buzzer beater to end the third frame reduced the gap to five points but when the fourth started, Jerry Kayanga connected from range to re-establish the eight-point margin.
City Oilers reminded everyone Friday night that they are still the best team in the country. They did that by staying composed as UCU Canons looked to be running away with the game at Lugogo.
Tusker Lite Player of the Game Tony Drileba’s buzzer beater to end the third frame reduced the gap to five points but when the fourth started, Jerry Kayanga connected from range to re-establish the eight-point margin.
The Canons led by 12 at some point but the seven-time champions landed the final punch to avenge their first round loss.
The start was what Oilers wound have asked for as they took the first quarter 18-11 with Francis Azolibe standing out, not just with his white tinted hair but 10 points to marked his return to the game after sitting out the first round.
The Canons then went off in the second quarter as Peter Sifuma found his rhythm from mid-range to help the university side take the quarter 23-9 and lead 34-27 at the half.
Nicholas Natuhereza’s charges were still in control through the third frame and the early part of the fourth but collapsed as the Oilers gained momentum down the stretch.
Jimmy Enabu’s three-pointer to end the game created a 17-point difference to suggest this was a no-contest. The fourth quarter was one sided as the defending champions limited UCU to a mere seven points and scored 29 on the other end.
UCU’s problems started with the starters all struggling for offence on the night. Only Sifuma got into double figures on the night but his 16 points were not enough.
Sudi Ulanga was zero for seven from the field while team captain Titus Lual went one of 11. The Canons made just one of their 20 shots from downtown.
Back in action
Nigerian Azolibe marked his return to action with a big first quarter of 10 points but only went on to add just three points thereafter as he ended the game with 13.
Size turned out to be Oilers’ biggest concern in the first round with James Okello and Ivan Lumanyika as the only legit rim protectors. The return of Azolibe, who played a season with Namuwongo Blazers, adds to the side’s length.
Also to play his first game on Friday was new signing Davis Christopher Siaji whose debut lasted 13 minutes before limping off with three points and one rebound.
Drileba ended the game with 21 points and seven rebounds as he continued to be Oilers’ most important player this season.
National Basketball League
W -Nkumba 35-72 KCCA
M -Ndejje 62-71 Power
W -UCU 63-68 Angels
M -UCU Canons 54-71 City Oilers
W -Miracle 59-65 KIU
M -KCCA 71-49 Falcons
W -Nabisunsa 53-49 Stormers
M -KIU 72-58 Royals
M -UPDF 52-51 Victoria