"We started well but lost momentum when they stepped up their game."
City Oilers 73 UCU Canons 72
KCCA Leopards 61 UCU Lady Canons 72
The cast didn't have the likes of Desmond Owili, Ivan Lumanyika and Innocent Oduor but the script was already written: an entertaining and competitive game as the City Oilers battled the UCU Canons in the National Basketball League at YMCA Friday night.
So it was supposed to be another routine win for champions City Oilers, so we thought, not only because of their current form but also because they won the best of seven final 4-3 and of course UCU were missing three of their big men who made the Oilers sweat for their third championship.
But all that didn't matter to the Canons who put up a splendid performance against the Oilers and despite registering their second loss of the campaign, 73-72, they left with their heads up.
Jonathan Egau scored a game high 20 points, Fadhil Chuma 19 with Brian Namake (13pts+13 rebounds) topscoring for Nick Natuhereza's side are set to build on that performance going forward, according to captain Stephen Wundi.
"We made a number of costly turnovers that cost us the game but this performance gives us the encouragement in subsequent games. We started well but lost momentum when they stepped up their game," Wundi, who scored 13 points, said after the match.
UCU Canons' Jonathan Egau dunks over City Oilers' James Okello. (Credit: Michael Nsubuga)
The Oilers who did not play to their best were led by Jonah Otim and Geoffrey Omondi with 17 points apiece with Jimmy Enabu (16pts) and Kami Kabange (11pts) all in double digits for the Oilers who raced to a 13-point lead 4 minutes into the third quarter but had surrendered the lead three minutes into the last quarter.
UCU then took the initiative, shooting themselves into a five-point lead with five minutes on the clock and were leading by a point (68-67) with one minute to play but costly turnovers by arguably their best performer on the day Brian Namake was their undoing.
It was 71up with 34 seconds on the clock but Namake was twice guilty of turning over the ball as the Oilers won another battle against the Canons.
In the ladies game, star-studded KCCA Leopards were brought under check by a resilient UCU Lady Canons side who ensured the status quo prevailed in this fixture.
Sarah Ageno grabbed 21 points, Vilma Achieng (15) and Judith Nansobya (13) for the Lady Canons who handed the Leopards their first loss.
SATURDAY AT YMCA
Javon Ladies Nkumba Lady Marines Women 12pm
KIU Rangers v KCCA Leopards 2pm
Magic Stormers JKL Lady Dolphins 4pm
KIU Titans v Sharing Youth 4pm
Charging Rhino UPDF Tomahawks 6pm