31 July 2007
UGANDA : Marines, Sparks hit back to win Falcons Invitational
Marines 104-92 UCU Canons
Sparks 65-46 Les Gazelles
Lady Bucks (Women) Falcons (Men)
Lady Bucks (Women), APR (Men)
Sprite Storms (Women), Ulinzi (Men)
Mak. Sparks (Women), Marines (Men)
“WHAT did I tell you? We are better than these guys,” Nkumba Marines captain Boniface Okello bragged after their dramatic 104-92 win over Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono Canons in the finals of the Falcons Invitational Tournament Sunday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
Canons had earlier on Friday beaten Marines 103-93 in the preliminaries of the tournament, a loss that prompted Okello to say they would beat their opponents in the finals. “We shall get their trick and beat them. Actually we shall meet in the final and revenge,” Okello disclosed then.
And the National Basketball League defending champions, who had not beaten Canons in three meetings, did not disappoint.
They recovered from a 20-point deficit with five minutes inside the second quarter to become the first team to beat UCU since September 2006. Canons, still unbeaten in the league after 11 games, last lost to Makerere in the utl inter-university gala.
Canons looked like they were going to roll over Marines with seven unanswered points including a Phillip Odur (8) slam dunk and three-pointer by Robert Mugabe (10) in the game’s first minute.
|DRIBBLING KING: Marines’ Salim maneuvers his way to the hoop in the final of the Falcons Invitational. Photo by Ismail Kezaala|
By the end of first quarter, the Mukono side was leading 29-13 and most Marines fans had started cursing their gods. Five minutes into second quarter Marines were trailing 25-45 and some of their fans lost hope and walked out of the stadium.
But after a timeout Marines played a full court pressing game, forcing Canons into errors, and reduced the deficit to 40-49 at the end of the session.
Two minutes into third quarter, Marines took the lead 58-56 and never looked back. Foul-troubled Norman Blick (23 points) was rested in the third but played for eight minutes with four fouls in the last quarter before being ejected. Carrol Bisereko was the best Marines player on the night with 24 points and 10 assists but Salim Ali (12 points and 15 assists) was voted MVP.
Geoffrey Omondi grabbed 31 points including seven three-pointers while Ivan Enabu added 18 for Canons. As the game got tense in the last session Blick, Enabu, Eric Nyamai and Odur all fouled out.
Makerere Sparks, struggling in the league, in the meantime routed Burundi’s Les Gazelles 65-46 to take the women’s trophy. Vicky Nassolo (19), Marion Nakaziba (10) and Becky Ndibalekera (8) dominated the post, closing down the rampant eventual MVP Florence Kalume (23).
Kalume will travel to Addis Ababa for a one-week holiday courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines. Monitor Publications, Rwenzori, Asiatic Sports and St John Ambulance were co- sponsors.