07 December 2012
UGANDA : Warriors claw back in series
By Ismail Dhakaba
A backlash was inevitable the moment Warriors lost Game One of the best-of-seven Fuba League playoff finals. Falcons anticipated it but had no answers. Five players notched double figures as Warriors streamed through the second half to win 78-66 and tie the series at 1-1.
This was a masterclass in ball movement witnessed by a fair crowd at the Lugogo MTN Arena on Wednesday night. Game Three is on Sunday at YMCA court. The 2009 champions swung the ball from one end to the other creating numerous open shots, something Falcons lived with on Sunday. Not this time.
Centre Henry Malinga scored a team-high 17 points and four rebounds and guard Ivan Enabu added 15 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and five assists.
Skipper Ronnie Kasewu added 13 whereas Norman Blick and Cyrus Kiviri contributed 12 points each to pile up the scoring column. Blick also had nine rebounds.
“Their shots were on (today). We had a different strategy playing them the zone and give them threes,” Falcons’ Geoff Omondi reasoned. It backfired as Warriors went 10 for 26 from downtown, slightly better than the eight for 28 in the 75-62 Game One loss. They also made 20 of their 30 free throws.
Falcons went 4 for 21 from outside the arc and 12 for 29 from the foul line. Crucially, Warriors didn’t fold in the second half taking the final two periods 29-18 and 22-17 respectively.
They were even early for the game! “Coming together early to talk about the game helped us get ready for the game. Today we showed a lot desire,” coach Mandy Juruni acknowledged. The only thing Falcons might take as a big positive was their rebounding which tilted 49-37 in their favour.
Philip Ameny scored a game-high 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, Stephen Omony had 15 points, 11 boards and four steals and skipper Peter Elungat finished on 14.
Falcons held a four-point lead (31-27) at the mid-way point, a much quicker start than the sluggish opener when both teams were tied 8-up at the end of the first quarter.
“I think we relaxed,” Ameny said. Elungat agreed with Omondi and Juruni. “We just failed to get an answer for their shots. They were moving the ball very well on the ark,” said Elungat.
Meanwhile, UCU Lady Canons are two victories from a third straight title after beating KCCA Leopards 54-50 to take a 2-0 lead in their series. Maureen Amoding and Lorraine Akiniyi notched 13 points apiece to render Martha Soigi’s game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds inconsequential.