26 October 2007

UGANDA : Olumbo inspires Falcons to victory over UCU Canons


KCC Lions 61-53 Vegetarian
UCU Canons 69- 80 Falcons
KCC Leop’ds 60-56 UCU Women

Tonight at Lugogo
Crane High v Gulu Hawks
A-1 v KIU Rangers
Warriors v Sadolin Power

KAMPALA City Council sides Leopards and Lions got early tickets to the MTN-Fuba League finals but regular season champions Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono Canons suffered a shock defeat to Mogas Falcons and must win the decisive Game Three next Wednesday to qualify.

KCC Leopards overcame UCU women 60-56 while Division Two outfit Lions swept aside Luzira-based Vegetarian to wrap up the best of three semi-final play-off series 2-0.

Nonetheless, it was Kenyan tactician Thomas ‘Smatts’ Olumbo, who stole the show at Lugogo Indoor Stadium, leading an out of sorts Falcons side to a credible 80-69 victory over Canons.

Falcons lost Game One of the series 49-74 and their chances of making finals were but bleak. But Olumbo, who is also the Kenyan women’s national team coach, got everything right on the night and so did his players.

“I wasn’t around and I think the boys got nervous and intimidated in the opening fixture. But tonight I told them to go out there and enjoy basketball,” Olumbo told Daily Monitor.
“Whenever they ran out of ideas I called a time out and calmed them down,” he added.

The five-time champions romped to a 28-23 first quarter lead, stretched it to 12 points inside the second session but Canons crawled back and were trailing 44-46 at halftime.
Falcons got the edge in third quarter 15-14 and took advantage of Canons’ foul trouble in the penultimate session (19-11).

The Malinga brothers Henry and Eric Malinga shared 47 points and kept Canons’ post players Eric Nyamai and Phillip Odur under check throughout the game. Geoffrey Omondi (15), Ivan Enabu (14) and Robert Mugabe (13) top scored but the university side suffered a second defeat in a space of two days.

They lost to KIU in the utl Games semis on Tuesday. Asked if the Falcons’ loss came as a shock, a seemingly irate Canons coach Jason Mehl replied; “Aren’t they a good team? Why do you think it’s a shock? It’s been a bad outing for us and a good one for them.” Kyambogo Warriors will seek to seal their place in the final when they take on Sadolin Power tonight.

A-1 Challenge are also one win away from the final against KIU Rangers.

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