06 October 2013

UGANDA : Lady Canons touch ceiling as Falcons lay down marker

Muhayimina Namuwaya of KCCA Leopards fouls UCU’s Amoding during last year’s finals. PHOTO BY ISMAIL. KEZAALA
Muhayimina Namuwaya of KCCA Leopards fouls UCU’s Amoding during last year’s finals. PHOTO BY ISMAIL. KEZAALA 

Posted  Sunday, October 6  2013 at  01:00
In Summary
Victory over fifth-placed KIU Rangers next Friday night will mark a perfect 20-game season for UCU Lad
It’s not the championship that UCU Lady Canons crave yet. But, months of sacrifice could soon bear the best fruther they could become the first women’s team to go through the regular season unbeaten.
In beating rivals KCCA Leopards 46-35 on Friday night at YMCA court, UCU can now feel history, or even touch it. Victory over fifth-placed KIU Rangers in five days’ time will mark a perfect 20-game season. If they do so, as expected as per their performances over the past six months, UCU will join men’s sides, Charging Rhino and UCU Canons, who had unblemished seasons in 1997 and 2007 respectively. “That is the reward of sacrifice. We have always wanted to get a perfect record,” 2010 MVP Maureen Amoding said, echoing the message for the entire 2013.                 
Whether it represents the level of competition in women’s basketball entirely is another matter altogether. UCU have really done their homework following the disappointment of losing to KCCA last year. Then chasing a third successive league title, UCU led 2-0 against KCCA in the seven-game final series before succumbing 4-3 in a tough series.                 
A third victory over KCCA this season will feel like part of the job of reclaiming the championship is done as it’s the same side that will rival them for the title. They probably stole the thunder from Falcons as a fair crowd saw the record league winners lay down a marker for the play-offs, beating champions Riham Warriors 88-71.

The result improved Falcons’ record in a tumultuous season to 11-9 in seventh whereas second–placed Warriors fell to 15-6. Their faint hopes of catching KIU Titans and City Oilers, tied at 13-6 above them, also remained intact thanks to a dominant night for the inside players with a 40-34 advantage on the boards.

Best game
Forward Peter Elungat was effective in his game-high 19 points going 7 for 8 from two-point range, centre Philip Ameny scored 18 and Serge Kabangu added 15 points and 12 boards. It was the latter’s, a power forward/centre, best game since joining the six-time champions though this is one of the few occasions when he has been trusted by coach Gad Eteu.

The big men might have owned the night but the improvement of their guards – Abdullahi Ramadhani and Sam Obol – 13 and 10 points – committing a combined six turnovers and seven assists – shouldn’t go unnoticed. Geoff Omondi, who absconded from the team over non-payment, still needs to find his step again as his seven turnovers showed rustiness and indecision even if Falcons dictated the tempo throughout. They will be the team to avoid in the playoffs.                 
Andrew Okot led Warriors with 18 on a tough evening for everyone else. Henry Malinga had 14, Jude Ochen’s 14 hardly masked his 3 for 11 from downtown and Ronnie Kasewu made 10. Nights like Friday remind us further that the title race is wide open.

W: UCU 46-35 KCCA
M: Warriors 55-64 Falcons

M: City Oilers vs. Ndejje (7.30pm)
M: Rhino vs. Power (3.30pm)
M: Miracle vs. Nkumba (1.30pm)

W: UCU vs. A1 (5.30pm)
W: KCCA vs. Nabisunsa (11am)

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