03 December 2013

UGANDA : Falcons, UCU level ahead of Game III

Falcons, UCU level ahead of Game III
Flavia Okecho of KCCA goes for the basket during the final playoff series Game One against UCU Canons at the MTN Arena in Lugogo last Friday. Photo by Ismail Kezaala.  

It’s only the second game of what could be a seven-game final series but former champions UCU Lady Canons and Falcons knew they cannot plunge into a 2-0 hole.
The two finalists avoided losing two games in a row by winning their respective Game Twos against KCCA Leopards and City Oilers to leave both series tied at 1-all.
They fashioned their resurrection in contrasting fashion. UCU started like a house on fire in their 63-52 victory over the defending champions.A 16-6 start to the first quarter gave 2011 MVP Purity Odhiambo the impetus to scored a game-high 29 points and 21 rebounds. Maureen Amoding, the 2010 MVP, added 12.
Despite Claire Lamunu’s 17 points and Flavia Oketcho’s 12 and six rebounds, KCCA never really challenged without centre Martha Soigi, away in Singapore with the national netball team.
UCU too were missing Peace Proscovia but coped better with Lorraine Akinyi scoring six points and 10 rebounds. If UCU were in charge all the way, Falcons just sneaked over the finish line.
The record champions, also losing finalists from last year, rode a brilliant fourth period to defeat newcomers Oilers 84-76 and halt their fairytale for at least a day. Falcons, who took the final quarter 30-15, were second best until Peter Elungat, restored to the starting five, sunk a three with 7.07 to play in the fourth. They didn’t falter again.

“It’s persistence that kept us going,” Stephen Omony, eight points, noted. “Our concentration on the defensive end must improve too,” he added. Coach Gad Eteu echoed those Abdullahi Ramadhan, whose own three-pointer preceded Elungat’s, had held them afloat with a game-high 30 points to partly erase the seven-point and 10-turnover show in Game One on Friday.
    Dulah, 3 for 4 from beyond the arc, had to be this good as Geoff Omondi sat out due to a groin problem to leave a thin roster bare to the bones.
 Serge Kabangu’s 20 points and Philip Ameny’s 10 also kept them in good stead. Both have their legs heavily strapped as the strain of two tough series before the finals start to show.
Though big on quality, Falcons is thin on numbers. This was a roles reversal from Game One when Falcons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Oilers had Ramadhan Arou score 25 points and 12 rebounds and James Okello contributing 15. An ill Kami Kabangu added 13 and 12 whereas Jimmy Enabu had 11.

They just didn’t have the final kick, or rather shot to close this out, just like Falcons 48 hours prior.

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