08 June 2012

UGANDA : Wounded Warriors need quick response

Last Friday’s loss to DMark Power reminded Warriors that stopping their rivals’ surge to a third successive Airtel Fuba League title will take something special.   Warriors, still smarting from the 71-68 defeat, need a quick response against UCU Canons at YMCA court today in a repeat of the semifinals of the past two seasons.
“We don’t want to lose two in a row,” Warriors’ coach Mandy Juruni said. He will again be without guard Ivan Enabu due to a heel injury. Juruni didn’t do himself any favours with a poor rotation last week.
“Mentally, it gave all of us something to fight for,” Juruni added. His team, despite having the size advantage, was out-rebounded 51-60 and failed to cope with Power’s transition. Veteran centre Henry Malinga was the most productive with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Warriors’ win-loss column now reads 8-1 but they remain top having played a game more than Power. The enticing stat is that UCU and Warriors have served semifinal playoff thrillers in each of the past two seasons. The latter has advanced 3-2 on both occasions.
Bigger squad
Unlike last year when the UCU roster was thin with only seven players, it’s much bigger this time round. They may have lost Geoffrey Omondi (Falcons) and Jachin Wettstone (US) but UCU remain contenders for a place in the final four.
They currently lie fifth with a 5-3 record as coach Nicholas Natuhereza finds his feet with younger players. Among them is Patrick Habyareme who has played lots of minutes since his promotion from UCU JV, their understudy side. UCU’s major weakness is folding in the final two periods in most of the big games. “I think we will eventually handle ourselves better late in games,” Natuhereza often promises.
On Wednesday, Richard Ongom bagged 15 points and 13 rebounds and Michael Oling scored a game-high 17 points to give Vegetarian a 45-39 victory over Rez Life.
It was Vegetarian’s first win while Rez Life are yet to break their duck.

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