19 March 2014

UGANDA : UCU Draw First Blood

The UCU Invitational Basketball Open is official curtain raiser of the Fuba National Basketball season and for the past three years has been the avenue for teams to orient new recruits.
The fourth edition took place over the weekend with the hosts UCU Canons lifting both the titles in the men's and women's category. Last year, the tournament was lifted by league defending champions City Oilers before they went on their 2013 memorable run. This time round the Canons made a big statement of their intentions of 2014 seeing Oilers in the finals 77-65 while the Lady Canons defeated KIU Rangers 81-58.
It was the final that many had anticipated with Oilers lining up their new signings; Ben Komakech from Dmark Power, Jeff Omondi from Falcons and Michael Otieno from Kampala University. The other highlight of the two-day event was Nimrod Kaboha's KIU Titans who have been in talks with the tallest player in Ugandan basketball, Sam Gombya.
Though Warriors are still denying that the move is settled, Gombya turned up in the lemon green of the Titans and put on a blocking show though his team couldn't make it past the semi-final stage. Akol Bol is the player Titans have signed and he also featured for them. Kaboha's Titans had the best defence last season but were often affected by their front court play, but with those two additions, they will be a force to reckon with.
However, the tournament lacked that spark as many of the top teams in the National Basketball league failed to turn up. Oilers, Ndejje, Canons, Vegetarians and KIU made it from the National Basketball league.
Dmark Power deputy skipper Isaac Afidra told The Observer: "We have a new squad and the players are still getting to know each other; besides, the finances came in late.We decided to concentrate on the training to get team rhythm."
Ivan Ntabazi, the manager Warriors basketball, argued that his team couldn't make the tournament because they were still going through, "speed and agility training" to help them get in shape for the league which kicks off next month.
Record champions Falcons also couldn't make the tournament because they were still in the recruitment process and had so far confirmed the signing of shooting guard Emmanuel Ateng who has been away in India.

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