23 October 2014

UGANDA : Power, UCU Canons push for second play-offs slot

Power’s Ramadhan (R) scored 17 points against UCU in the first round. PHOTO: I. KEZAALA

KAMPALA. Even if it’s still the regular season, games between UCU Canons and Tiger Head Power have a certain minor prize about them in the Airtel National Basketball League.
It hardly matters that the last of Power’s five titles came in 2011 and UCU have never been to the finals, plus, neither has looked like a title favourite yet this season.
The duo’s game normally decides the seeding at the top when both are competitive. Last season, Power ended UCU’s nine-game winning streak and took their own to 10. That helped them seal top spot.
Neither made the final as fourth-seeded City Oilers clinched the title. So does it matter that the two will be jostling for second seed tonight at YMCA court? “You don’t get to choose where you finish. The important thing is to win as many games as possible,” Nicholas Natuhereza, the UCU coach, said.
His team is playing some of its best basketball this year and has improved to 12-5 whereas Power are 13-5 after victories over KIU Titans and Vegetarian over the weekend.
“We can play better,” point guard Sande Okot, one of UCU’s five players to notch double figures against Falcons last week, noted. Can they play better when the playoffs start next month? “Yes,” he added.
Power beat UCU 65-59 on the back of Abdullahi Ramadhan’s 17 points back in July. But, it’s been a stop-start for them since. The avalanche of inside players on the UCU roster will trouble Power but the latter’s overall skill levels and ability to feed off mistakes makes them slight favourites. Defeat for either side will aid Warriors’ late surge for second. The former champions are now 13-6 and still have to play both Power and UCU before the playoff starts.
Playing today at YMCA
W: UCU vs. Stormers (6.30pm)
MEN: UCU vs. Power (8.30pm)
WOMEN: KCCA 78-28 Mak Sparks
MEN: Diamonds 62-63 Rhino

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