26 October 2012

UGANDA : Power’s treble quest rolls off against Canons

Power’s Isaac Lugudde (R) beats UCU Canons star guard Sudi Ulanga to a lay-up last season.
Power’s Isaac Lugudde (R) beats UCU Canons star guard Sudi Ulanga to a lay-up last season. Power and UCU meet in the pick of the quarterfinal series. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA

Today is the opening Friday of this year’s Fuba Basketball League playoffs which will involve a mammoth 32 teams in all as the local governing body has introduced quarterfinals for the first time.
It marks the start of a momentous period geared towards deciding who wins the various championships across the four divisions; three men’s and one women’s. The scheduling that has DMark Power-UCU Canons and A1 Challenge-Gladiators opening the stage today has a basic pointer – this series is expected to be the closest.
The four teams finished season fourth and fifth in the respective men’s and women’s divisions at the end of the regular season a fortnight ago. The return to the Lugogo MTN Arena after two years away adds to the excitement. In finishing fourth, two-time defending champions Power ‘chose’ the tougher path, on paper. “Regular season things don’t matter now. This is playoffs,” Bernice Ankunda, the Power coach, threw a reminder our way.
Power cannot look too far ahead even if the ultimate target is to win a third successive title to take their tally to six and be as successful as Falcons, the record champions. “It’s important to take it one game at a time,” Ankunda said.
Size will remain a disadvantage for Power as they are a team of guards. Like leopards never change their spots, reigning MVP Isaac Afidra and Ben Komakech should constitute their primary weapons.
UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza is well aware of this challenge and more. “Those two will be targets but we know that with the way Power play, anyone can hurt you,” Natuhereza acknowledged. The Lugogo floor will relatively be new to UCU as they last played there during the 2010 semifinals whereas Power were there just two months ago during the two-week Zone V Club Championship.
Cool heads is everything UCU need more than anything.



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