08 November 2012

UGANDA : All set for final four

Men were separated from boys at the quarterfinal stage but ahead of the Fuba League playoffs semis, it’s time to distinguish contenders from pretenders, writes Felix Eupal.Four teams remain in the playoffs and there are certainly no surprises. Top seeds Kyambogo Warriors easily swept aside Victoria University Heaters, so did second-ranked Blue Cube Falcons over Ndejje University Angels.
Though Kampala International University Titans had to sweat to overcome Miracle Angels in two games, the biggest buzz was UCU Canons’ elimination of defending champions Dmark Power.
Not that it was an upset of sorts – or that Power played below their best; UCU Canons were simply unstoppable. In fact, their semifinal clash against Warriors is so evenly matched that many see UCU edging the best-of-five series.
It’s a repeat of last year’s semis that Warriors won 3-2 after five tough games despite the fact that Canons played the entire series with only nine players. Both teams have since brought in new blood but it’s clear UCU is the team on the rise.
Tough as this matchup looks, teamwork will decide the eventual winner. In beating Power, UCU’s best weapon was neutralizing Power’s individual brilliance and the Canons will aim to do the same against Warriors.
Of recent, Warriors have heavily relied on role players like Ronnie Kasewu, Norman Blick and Henry Malinga during pressure moments. With Eric Malinga still nursing an injury, expect a healthy Canon team to pull it off in five.
Meanwhile, the Falcons-KIU showdown has the ingredients of a seesaw series. When they concentrate, Falcons are unplayable as their record-setting 14-match winning streak in the regular season.
But, they have a tendency to switch off as if uninterested and those lapses cost them valuable games at the tail end of the regular season. Facing their former star in towering Richard Omondi, expect high-scoring games but in the end, Falcons should be able to close the show in four.

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