12 July 2013

UGANDA : Power, UCU go for 10th win

Power, UCU go for 10th win
UCU Canons forward Martin Okwako tries to dribble past Riham Warriors’ Sam Gombya in an earlier fixture at Lugogo MTN Arena. Photo by Ismail Kezaala.  
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo
Today at Lugogo
MEN: Power vs. UCU (8.30pm)
WOMEN: UCU vs. Stormers (6.30pm)
Wednesday Results
MEN: Ndejje 61-70 City Oilers
MEN: Rhino 75-60 Vegetarian
UCU Canons needed to experience the pain of losing four times in five years before they could find a way to win a play-off series.
Then DMark Power, five-time champions, came along last year to ‘deliver’ them from pain to joy. Then seeking a third straight Airtel National Basketball League title, Power lost 2-1 in a short series.
Centre Desmond Owili was the major difference through that series, scoring 15 points and picking 10 rebounds in 73-69 victory in the decider.He had earlier bagged 22 points in the 80-64 Game One victory and nine in Game Two which Power won 71-62. Power just didn’t have a match up for him.
They still don’t when the two meet tonight at the Lugogo MTN Arena for the first since that enthralling contest last November with both on nine-match winning streaks from the start. Back then, the prize was very big, a place in the semifinals beckoned. “All season, the hunger hasn’t been there,” two-time MVP Ben Komakech, 12 points in the decider, reasoned then.

That ‘intangible’ hunger is back and stopping Desmond Owili could be a start though 2011 MVP Issac Afidra preferred to concentrate on the unit. “Of course every sportsman wants to win but we are not coming to play an individual. We assess UCU as a unit,” Afidra, whose inside game will be needed, said. In a season where no team has looked invincible yet, UCU, with a better roster than last year, have beaten four of the top six for all the bragging rights so far.
Despite adding Norman Blick (Warriors), Derrick Mbusi (Heaters) and Paul Odong (Bush Court), Power cannot claim to have improved that much. None can stop Owili.

Cyrus Kiviri, acquired from champions Warriors, and Afidra labour to understate the game’s significance.

“I think it’s only the timing that makes it big otherwise it wouldn’t be,” Kiviri said. Adding; “The outcome won’t affect us though in anyway.”

“It’s an ordinary game (unlike the play-offs),” Afidra said. Of course, many fans and the two coaches, Power’s Bernes Ankunda and Nicholas Natuhereza may not share the same sentiment.

By adding Kiviri to Sudi Ulanga, UCU spread their scoring options, something Power have never struggled to do.


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