We have to be better - Juruni

City Oilers' guard Tony Drileba (with ball) has had to beat so many Namuwongo Blazers players for every basket. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE  

What you need to know:

The Namuwongo Blazers have the momentum having won the last two games of the series and another victory will be enough to land the championship on first attempt.


Leading the seven-game series 3-1, City Oilers looked home and dry ready to lift their eighth National Basketball League on Friday. But now, the dictator, as the Oilers have been labelled by their challenger, must arrest a crisis and win Game Seven to retain the title.The Namuwongo Blazers have the momentum having won the last two games of the series and another victory will be enough to land the championship on first attempt.Oilers are playing without injured start guard Jimmy Enabu, who pulled his hamstring in Game Four and are struggling to execute down the stretch. Sunday’s 76-71 loss was highlighted by foul trouble for the defending champions’ big men.Francis Azolibe Azolibe has been a big piece in how the Oilers play but was on four fouls before halftime while James Okello had picked up three. The two struggled and were battered by Saidi Amisi in the paint. Azolibe would later be ejected from the game alongside Amisi for an altercation and the Blazers held their nerves to level the series and force Game Seven.“Our guys have to be better down the stretch,” Oilers head coach Mandy Juruni told Daily Monitor after Game Six.“We have to execute and play together. We have not played together down the stretch,” he added.Having gone into the halftime break tied with the Blazers at 41, Oilers failed to make big plays and were overwhelmed by the newcomers with Chris Omanye and Paul Odong getting hot in Amisi’s absence.Oilers’ go-to guard Tonny Drileba has struggled for offense the last three games. He had 11 points in Game Six. Only Okello (17) and Ivan Muhwezi (13) reached double figures on Sunday.Foul troubleReferees have been in the limelight throughout the series with the losing side in every game feeling hard done. Game Six saw Oilers struggle with foul trouble after calls made on especially Azolibe and Okello.“The refs have to let us play before anything,” Juruni noted.“We can’t play hard. We are always in foul trouble.“They (Blazers) are getting to the free throw line 20 times every single game.”The Blazers shot 19 of 36 from the free throw line to punish the seven-time winners. Amisi made 11 of his 27 points from the charity line.Momentum is with the Blazers now and Oilers must be much better than they have looked in the last two games to retain the championship.

National Basketball League

Finals 

Game Seven (Friday)

Nam Blazers vs. Oilers

JKL vs. UCU Lady Canons

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