By Charles Mutebi
Airtel National Basketball League
A1 63 KIU 44
Sparks 86 Nabisunsa 76
City Oil 95 Rhinos 67
UCU 83 Nkumba 52
Vegetarian 98 Miracle 76
Nkumba v KIU
City Oil v Warriors
RONNIE Owino is no stranger to Ugandan basketball.
Still, it is not clear how much impact the Kenyan legend will have on the Airtel National Basketball League (ANBL) in the short but decisive time left in the 2013 season.
The first clues should emerge on Tuesday when the new Riham Warriors’ coach makes his debut against City Oil at the YMCA.
Owino has just been hired by the Warriors and KCCA Leopards, the defending men and women national champions who go into the ANBL playoffs with plenty of doubts about their capability.
Owino’s task is ergo akin to that of a magician - wave a tactical wand and sort out all the problems. Except Owino knows it will not be that easy.
“Defending the title is always harder than winning it because everyone wants to beat the champion,” Owino told New Vision Sport on Sunday.
“I think it will easier to defend the title with KCCA than it will be with the Warriors.”
Owino’s fears should be confirmed tomorrow, if City Oil’s recent performances are anything to go by.
City Oil thumped the Charging Rhinos 95-67 on Sunday, with the classy Kami Kabangu offering another MVP-type performance with a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes.
Kabangu rained 23 points and 13 rebounds while Jimmy Enabu grabbed 30 points and 10 rebounds as City Oil hammered the Warriors 83-71 in the first round.
But both sides know the winner of this game will secure third place in the ANBL regular season final log, which would likely mean facing the KIU Titans in the best-of-three playoff quarterfinals.
KIU face and should beat the Nkumba Marines in Tuesday’s opening game.