Oilers send reminder with win over UCU Canons

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 seven-time champions Oilers landed the final punch to avenge their first round loss.

The start was what the Oilers would have asked for as they took the first quarter 18-11 with Francis Azolibe standing out, not just with his blond tinted hair but 10 points to mark his return to the game after sitting out the first round.

The Canons then picked up 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 at the other end.

Drileba ended the game with 21 points and seven rebounds as he continued to be Oilers’ most important player this season.

Where Canons went blank

UCU’s problems started with the starters all struggling for offence on the night. Only Sifuma got into double figures but his 16 points were not enough.

Sudi Ulanga was zero for seven from the field while 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 added three points thereafter.

Size was the 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.

New signing Davis Christopher Siaji also played his first game in a debut that lasted 13 minutes for three points and one rebound.

National Basketball League

FRIDAY RESULTS
W -Nkumba     35-72     KCCA
M -Ndejje     62-71     Power
W -UCU     63-68     Angels
M -Canons     54-71     City Oilers
Saturday results
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

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