29 October 2012
UGANDA : POWERLESS
After losing the opening match of the best-of-three playoff series 64-80 to UCU Canons, defending champions Power will be eliminated if they don’t turn the tables in Game Two, writes Jeff Mbanga.
On their day, Power is a joy to watch but on an off day, they can be annoyingly erratic. Whether it’s a premature streak of ill luck or just the natural progression that all basketball teams experience at one point in the season, the defending champions are caught up in a tight spot. Being a game away from elimination is a situation Power probably never gave a thought.
So with an uncharacteristically poor defence, they head into Game 2 with an insurmountable task, but one that they know is certainly not impossible. Game 1 had all the makings of a classic ‘Power show.’ See, the individual brilliance of Power players thrives most against teams without genuine star men. Yet, the teamwork of UCU’s Sudi Ulanga, Desmond Owili and Martin Okwako neutralised Power’s offensive strengths.
Power was expected to dictate the tempo of play but the Canons had them chasing shadows for most part of the game. In the end, the 16-point margin reflects the reckless approach of Power’s star players, in particular Ben Komakech, who converted just one of his eleven three-point attempts.
What Power must do
It’s win Game 2 or bust for Power. But to even dream of that scenario, Power needs to start strongly. It’s that simple, right? Seems like it would be but, Power are natural slow starters. They like playing catch-up in the first three quarters before exploding in the fourth,
Yet, against a team with a huge work ethic, Power coach Barnes Ankunda needs to give his starting five a solid head start. Only that way will Power be able to contain an aggressive UCU if it is to push the series to the decisive Game three. Anything less and Power will become the first defending champ to miss out on the playoffs semis.