09 November 2012

UGANDA : Warriors-UCU Canons Season Three starts at YMCA today

UCU Canons star guard Sudi Ulanga beats Ronnie Kasewu to the basket during last year’s play-offs at YMCA. Warriors and UCU are meeting in the semifinals starting today.
UCU Canons star guard Sudi Ulanga beats Ronnie Kasewu to the basket during last year’s play-offs at YMCA. Warriors and UCU are meeting in the semifinals starting today. Photo by Ismail Kezaala
By Ismail Kigongo
In Summary
Warriors emerged victorious in the previous two seasons but went on to lose the finals.

Season Three of the Fuba League playoff semifinals five-game series involving Warriors and UCU Canons tips off at YMCA court today. Warriors emerged victorious in the past two seasons 3-2 but went on to lose in the finals to Power.
UCU-Warriors still remains a match-up between the two biggest teams in size. Warriors coach Mandy Juruni, whose team breezed past Heaters 2-0 in the quarters, pointed out the changes in the opposition. “I think they are a better team now. Their numbers are bigger, too,” Juruni, whose team has already beaten UCU twice this season, said.
Last year, UCU went into the series with nine players and were reduced to eight as Robert Ogweno limped off in Game Two.
“Also, some players have improved a lot, like Desmond (Owili) was mainly defensive but is now offensive,” Juruni added. Centre Owili finished the 2-1 quarterfinal series win over DMark Power with 46 points and 30 rebounds, the highest tally for his team. “Warriors are much harder than Power,” noted Owili, aware that the latter are mainly a team of guards. UCU lost three players and added six this season. They stuttered to fifth in the regular season standings. “I am also pleased everything is coming together at the right time,” former Warrior Martin Okwako said. Warriors, top seeds for two years running now, will be favourites.
The acquisitions of Norman Blick and Cyrus Kiviri have made their back court more lethal, an area in which UCU are limited.

“I think we are better equipped than last year. In Norman and Cyrus, we have two versatile players,” Ivan Enabu said. Besides shooting guard Sudi Ulanga, UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza must demand that Sande Okot and Innocent Odour provide more offensive traffic. Brian Namake, scorer of 14 points in the 73-69 win over Power in Game Three, has carried some of the burden. In the women’s division, two-time defending champions UCU Lady Canons face A1 Challenge as the latter return to the playoffs after missing out last year.

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