24 July 2013

UGANDA : Warriors on alert

Warriors on alert
Warriors’ Enabu lays up against Power last Friday. The champions turned on the style against Power but can’t take Ndejje Angels for granted. Photo by Ismail Kezaala. 

Warriors vs. Ndejje (8.30pm)
Ndejje University Angels would have wished to have an easier fixture list to wind up their Airtel National Basketball League first round.
They have to face four of the top five sides. Their report card is quite pleasing. Only fourth-placed City Oilers have managed to beat them, albeit with a 70-61 margin.

Their response to that was to beat KIU Titans 82-78 and UCU Canons 57-56. It gets even harder today when they face Riham Warriors at YMCA. The champions are coming off their best display in months, ending DMark Power’s 10-match winning streak with a 91-65 rout last Friday.

That should send Ndejje trembling. It surely won’t. This is the game they have looked forward to for weeks.
“These are the games you want to play,” Ndejje’s Geoffrey Soro, the reigning regular season MVP and top scorer, said.

Stephen Okias, a Warrior for 13 seasons before moving to Ndejje this year, is even getting sentimental.

“I cannot define the feeling (of facing Warriors) in absolute terms,” Okias told Daily Monitor. “But, obviously I never wished this day to dawn. “I always dreamed of playing for Warriors till retirement. But, I suppose playing more games before the encounter has crashed many sentiments.” It was indeed a tough start to life as a ‘Angel’.

The five-time league scoring champion and two-time title winner with Warriors in 2009 and 2012, is coming good. Okias scored a game-high 18 points against UCU on Sunday, to add to the 14 in the victory over KIU six days prior.

Despite all this, Ndejje will be underdogs. If Warriors spread the ball the way they did against Power, this could be a no-contest.

Soro gets to play against his mentor, Henry Malinga, scorer of 28 points on Friday. Add the pace of Ivan Enabu and Mark Opio on the back court and it can be a long evening.

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