22 September 2013

UGANDA : Gombya silences UCU

                                Gombya silences UCU
Friday League Results
M: UCU 63-65 Warriors
W: KIU 56-64 KCCA
Two UCU Canons, Rumanyika (L) and Namake (R), make a futile attempt to double-team Gombya. Photo by Ismail Kezaala. 
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo
Today at Lugogo
M: Nkumba vs. Falcons (7.30pm)
M: City Oilers vs. Heaters (3.30pm)
M: KIU vs. Vegetarian (1.30pm)
W: A1 vs. Stormers (5.30pm)
W: Nabisunsa vs. Gladiators (11.30am)

It’s on nights like Friday that mental fortitude is tested. Besides resilience, the depth is also put to test.

Champions Riham Warriors ticked those two boxes to beat UCU Canons 65-63.

Down 16 (20-36) at the end of second quarter, Warriors looked clueless. They were destined for a sixth loss in the Airtel National Basketball League. With the Lugogo MTN Arena packed to the rafters, UCU’s inside players were dominating the game early on and in some instances, it looked too easy in cleaning the boards.
Warriors had to find a trump card. Enter 7ft 2in Sam Gombya. His ability is limited but his size is always decisive. He was simply unstoppable in the third period which Warriors started on an 8-0 run. Gombya scored 14 of his 16 points here, adding 11 rebounds. Scoring wasn’t the whole story.

Four fouls
Desmond Owili, Ivan Rumanyika, Brian Namake and Moses Chuma accumulated four fouls inside the first four minutes of the quarter trying to stop him. Rumanyika fouled out
All of them got trapped under Gombya. He simply got into their heads. They had to sit on the bench for most of the second half. Only Owili returned in the fourth. “Gombya is 7ft 3in. You cannot teach someone to be 7ft 3in,” UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza, whose team wore a new ‘unlucky’ jersey, said. “We did a good job on Gombya with our big guys on the bench.” It came a little too late as he took away one of their strengths. Sam Rukaire tried to limit Gombya“He had a really big impact. When he got on, he showed he really wanted to play,” Warriors’ Emmy Samanya concurred after earning ‘revenge’ for the 58-63 loss back in May.

If Gombya provided the impetus, Henry Malinga was the connoisseur for their 14th victory in 19 games and consequently drop UCU to 15-3 to hand DMark Power (14-2) the initiative at the summit. Malinga’s duel with Owili was thrilling to watch. The veteran is too smart for the energetic Kenyan whose temperament continues to let him down on the biggest stage.

Feeling unwell
“Maturity,” Malinga, scorer of 17 points including the go-ahead put-back, and 10 rebounds, said was the ingredient to ‘cleaning’ Owili. They also restricted UCU’s volume scorers – Sudi Ulanga and Owili to seven and six points. Even Cryrus Kiviri’s team-high 14 points were too
“I wasn’t feeling well. Me and Desmond let the team down,” shooter Ulanga admitted later. “I think he didn’t have a lot confidence I don’t know why,” his coach added.
Perhaps, more disheartening is how UCU threw a game which Warriors had played catch-up from gun to tape, scoring only seven in the final 10 minutes.

Ex-Warriors Kiviri to turned the ball over thrice in the final three minutes and wipe the thin advantage they still held!

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