By Charles Mutebi
Airtel Basketball League
UCU 62 Gladiators 22
KCCA 77 Sparks 37
Nkumba 58 Warriors 56
Power 75 Miracle 69
UCU 72 Heaters 44
THE Riham Warriors had the better players. The Nkumba Marines had the better coach.
The outcome was a fresh reminder of why every team, no matter how talented, need a good coach at the steering wheel.
Wilson Otweyo scored two of his game-high 18 points in the last two seconds as Timothy Odeke’s Nkumba clinched the biggest shock of the 2013 Airtel National Basketball League (ANBL) season with a 58-56 win over reigning champions Warriors.
Brian Sivachi added 17 points for the Marines, who could only raise eight players for the contest but practically used seven after Collins Shamora was ejected with three minutes under his belt.
And the Warriors?
And who did the Warriors have? Henry Malinga and Ivan Enabu - two of the most talented players in Ugandan basketball.
Plus, Brian Gumusiriza and Jude Ochen (13 points) - both twotime national champions and players with a lot of top-flight experience.
Then there are players like Collins Mukiza, Carlos Ochi, Andrew Okot (13 points) and Noel Hesbon - all players with top-flight know-how and who would definitely start on the current Nkumba team.
Yet all that did not help against Odeke’s Nkumba side, who had only won three games going into this game and are fighting just to stay in the ANBL.
The Warriors are coached by Emmanuel Samanya and Eric Malinga, although the former is away in Lira for the secondary schools championship.
Still, with all experience the Warriors have, someone should have known that the easiest way to beat an undermanned, undersized team like Nkumba is to force the ball inside.
Even though the Marines use a compact defensive zone, they would be hesitant to foul because they had a bench of only three players.
But according to the FUBA statistician, the Warriors attempted 33 three-pointers (making only six) and only 31 two-point field goals, a crazy strategy that was given the perfect reward by Nkumba.