25 March 2009

UGANDA : Mak Open exposes Power cracks

by Sande Bashaija

Final results (men)
Makerere 49 Falcons 41
A-1 Challenge 36 Makerere 16

A loss to Knight Riders in the Makerere Open preliminaries looked like a minor stumble but it turned out to be a sign that National Basketball League defending champions Dmark Power are after all not indomitable.

After signing two-time former most valuable player Norman Blick and his brother Donald last month, Power established an ‘All-Star’ side. The Blicks joined last year’s best player Ben Komakech, Joseph Ikong, Isaac Afidra, making Power the team to beat regardless of the competition in Uganda.

But the Makerere Open held at the university Pool Court over the weekend left the technical men at Power with many cracks in the team to be blocked ahead of the league that gets underway next month.

First, Power went down to Knight Riders 38-62. The Blick brothers sat out the biggest part of the tournament but were called in for reinforcement at the semifinal stage against the hosts. They combined for 20 points with Norman sinking in 12 and Ikong adding 13 but Power still lost 47-51.
“I admit the team has some weaknesses but the organizers cheated us. They tampered with the clock and the game ended three minutes earlier,” Peter Mubanda, club technical director said.

After beating Power, Makerere went on to hold off Falcons 49-41 in the final. Last year’s runner-up A-1 Challenge humiliated the home team 36-16 to win the women’s title.

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