The Oilers continue to find ways to win
Pepsi National Basketball League Finals
Oilers 75 Power 71
(Oilers lead series 2-1)
Down by 17 after the first quarter and deprived of their head coach on the stroke of half-time, the City Oilers had enough reason to lose Game 3 of the Pepsi National Basketball League (NBL) Finals.
But the depth of match-winners in their ranks weighed against the dearth options for Betway Power eventually swung the battle in the favour of the three-time reigning champions, who snatched a gripping 75-71 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
As Kami Kabange (21 points/11 rebounds) Landry Ndikumana (13 points/ 12 rebounds), Jimmy Enabu (15 points) and Ben Komakech (13 points) stepped up down the stretch, Power faded as foul-trouble left their already thin rotation on bare bones.
City Oilers' Kami Kabange (center) beats Betway Power's Paul Odong and Joseph Ikong (right) during game-one of the best of seven final play-offs game. PHOTO: Michael Nsubuga
Power skipper and go-to-man Joseph Ikong fouled out with 3:40 to play in the fourth quarter and the Oilers up 65-60 and his absence was deeply felt. Yet by the time Ikong (who had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists), valuable two-way player Brian Odour had fouled out several minutes prior in the third quarter.
Still the game was tied a 67-67 with 1:41 seconds left after Michael Makiadi (12 points) drained a deep three to the delight of most spectators.
But Enabu sunk a triple over the self-same Makiaidi on the ensuing possession to put the Oilers up by three and up for good.
The Oilers continue to find ways to win, this time not only weathering a poor first quarter but a maiden club ejection for coach Mandy Juruni, which came with 2:09 left in second quarter when they were trailing 34-21.
Ironically, Juruni's ejection, which came after two quick technicals for referee harassment, were credited for adding more fuel to the Oilers' ultimately successful fightback.
Isaac Afidra led Power with 16 points while Paul Odong added 13 for Arnold Lando's side.