01 September 2014

UGANDA : Ugandan teams collapse in seven dramatic hours at Zone V

Fiba Africa zone v championship
Urunani (Burundi) 54-45 City Oilers
Power (Uganda) 66-81 KPA (Kenya)
KCCA (Uganda) 48 - 74 USIU (Kenya)

We all knew the best case scenario - three Ugandan teams in the finals of the FIBA Zone V Basketball Club Championship.
It never came as KCCA Leopards, Tiger Head Power and City Oilers collapsed inside seven dreadful hours between midday and 7pm during Saturday’s semifinals. By the time Burundi’s Urunani delivered punch, beating Oilers 54-45, Uganda’s contingent here only wanted to get home.
They had seen enough. As darkness fell on the shores of the green Indian Ocean, women’s side KCCA were in the final stages of their autopsy following a 74-48 pummeling by USIU (Kenya) that started at midday.
Power was doing their postmortem, beaten 66-81 by hosts Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) at their welfare center, Makupa Gymnasium.
It was a long day, a really long day.
History remained intact as only three Ugandan sides have played in finals at this level - Falcons (2000), Lady Bucks (2004) and Warriors (2009).
Adding to the titles of Falcons and Lady Bucks is now even more distant, at least for another 12 months.
“I feel so heartbroken because we failed to play,” is all Power coach Bernes Ankunda could manage to say. He was writhing in pain having seen a bizzare 24 turnovers, most of them off in-bounds. Joseph Ikong had 18 points and Philip Ameny 12.
The silence was so loud across the four teams, including UCU Lady Canons who were knocked out in the pool phase on Wednesday and eventually finished fifth.
Oilers know why they failed at their first attempt. “We started so poorly yet we discussed it before the game,” Hajji Mohammed Ghedi, the club head and stand-in coach, said.
Urunani led 22-6 at the end of the first period and largely negated the impact of Oilers’ big men especially league MVP Kami Kabange.
His eight points and four rebounds weren’t in the pre-game script. Ben Komakech top scored with 12 points going 4 for 8 but missed all five two-point attempts. That tells the entire story with guard Jimmy Enabu only footnote even as Oilers stayed competitive after a slow start. Urunani out rebounded Oilers 43-32.
Elvis Hakizamana lit up the gym with 27 points. For KCCA, breaking the semifinal barrier remains a distant and not even another third place will be satisfactory.

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