13 November 2013
UGANDA : Oilers plotting for deep first cut against Power
Power have been here long enough and have five titles to show for it. Only Falcons (six) have won more. Oilers are only three years old and only have Division Three and Two titles as their claim to fame. But, while this has been Oilers’ first season in the topflight, there has been too little to illustrate the gulf in history. The two clash today at YMCA in the first of a possible five games in the Castle Lite playoff semifinal serie.
Power and Oilers swept Charging Rhino and KIU Titans in the quarterfinals 2-0 respectively without much fuss.
Besides the history, the regular season matchups offered nothing in terms of favourites heading into this series especially as Oilers beat Power 82-69 in overtime during the second round.
Oilers’ big men Kami Kabangu and Ramadhan Arou dominated Power, scoring 27 and 17 points respectively. Kabangu added 13 rebounds to boss the boards 65-50.
That’s an area of weakness for Power though they normally and consistently compensate for the deficiency in size with the pace of their guards. Coach Mandy Juruni and guard Jimmy Enabu, who won titles with Warriors (2010) and Power (2011) respectively before crossing to newcomers Oilers will be well aware of this.
“You see even in the first game against them, we played a game of guards,” Enabu said. Power won that season-opening game 68-65.
Power have not forgotten the events of last season when they were chasing a third successive league title but got knocked out by UCU Canons in the quarterfinals 2-1 despite coming into the series as defending champions.
The response to the loss was to re-sign Norman Blick from Warriors and also acquire Brian Odong and Derrick Mbusi from Bush Court and Heaters correspondingly.
Coach Bernes Ankunda hardly solved their inadequacies against UCU’s Desmond Owili and it will be interesting to see how David Kiberu, Mbusi and Michael Kojo cope with Oilers’ inside game.
No one at Power wants this more than forward Isaac Afidra, MVP when Power won in 2011. “One year is a very long time,” he asserted. “We are set out for the title. We want it back home. “And one of the forces driving us on is to equal Falcons total of six and even overtake them. We feel we should have won many more titles.” Point guard Ben Komakech, MVP in 2008 and 2010, will get that message loud and clear.