04 December 2008
UGANDA : Power-ful kings
BY Sande Bashaija
1995 – Makerere
1996 – Power
1997 – Charging Rhino
1998 – Falcons
1999 – Falcons
2000 – Sadolin Power
2001 – Sky Jammers
2002 – Falcons
2003 – Falcons
2004 – Falcons
2005 – Nkumba Marines
2006 – Nkumba Marines
2007 – Falcons
2008 – Sadolin Power
Results (Game Four)
Sadolin Power 78-73 Falcons
Knight Riders 87-80 Ndejje
A-1 52-45 Canons
Friday at Lugogo
Knight Riders v Ndejje 6pm
A-1 Challenge v UCU 8pm
After eight years of waiting, Sadolin Power finally have a trophy in their cabin.
Power on Tuesday night overturned a 12-point third quarter deficit to defeat six-time champions Falcons 78-73 in game four, winning the MTN Fuba League best of five final series 3-1.
“Some people didn’t believe in us but we have done it,” said Stephen Kasamba, one of few players that were part of the championship-winning Power team in 2000. “We’ve disappointed our fans so many times but not anymore,” an elated Kasamba added.
The game was clearly out of Power’s reach as early as halftime with Falcons leading 32-26. Yet, Power’s reliable players Isaac Afidra (17 points), Joseph Ikong (8) and David Kiberu (6) all had four fouls early in the third quarter.
They had to sit out, leaving Falcons to have a field day. At the end of third quarter, Falcons had established a comfortable 59-47 lead and only the bravest of pundits could predict victory for Power.
A-1 Challenge recover
Former women champions A-1 Challenge had earlier recovered to level the series 2-2 against UCU Lady Canons while men’s Second Division giants Knight Riders also forced a decisive game five with Ndejje.
This incited a general feeling that the topflight men’s series would also go down to the wire. But Power were never going to let it happen.
“None of us wanted to play game five. We decided to press in the fourth quarter and everyone was so courageous to attack,” Afidra, who returned to score 11 points in the fourth quarter, said.
Though Power launched a rally, Falcons managed to hold on to a small lead but suffered a setback when their centre Henry Malinga fouled out with 4:10 to play.
With 50 seconds on the clock, Ben Komakech, a lead contender for the most valuable player’s accolade, hit a three-pointer to bring Power within one point (71-72).
Afidra then gave Power a 75-73 lead before Ken Balyejusa (18) and Ikong accomplished the job, sending fans into frenzy. And the wild celebrations at Lugogo Indoor Stadium were justifiably deafening.
Tribute to Okecho
“We have won this for Ox (Wilbrod Okecho). His family members were here supporting us and we couldn’t let them down,” Ikong said. Power dedicated the championship to their departed colleague Okecho, who died of bullet wounds in April.
Francis Tumusime led Falcons with 17 points followed by Sam Obol (15) and Henry (13). Eric Malinga grabbed 10 points but couldn’t save Falcons from losing their first ever final series.
For UCU Lady Canons, they will have to wait until tomorrow to see if they can win their maiden women’s championship. The Mukono side were put to the sword by A-1 Challenge, losing game four 45-52. Olivia Mulwana (11 points), Aggie Nantongo (9) and Rosette Meyar (8) lifted A-1 Challenge, keeping them with a chance of repeating their 2005 exploits.
Celia Asila was the only UCU player in double figures with 10 points. The deadly Flavia Oketcho (7), Frances Nabulobi (8) and Laraine Akinyi (4) were subdued by A-1 Challenge’s tight defence.
Knight Riders beat Ndejje University 87-80 to level the men’s Second Division series and will play a decider at Lugogo tomorrow.