04 December 2015

UGANDA : Titanic Game 5 awaits Canons

UCU coach Natuhereza earned his team a costly technical call. FILE PHOTO 
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

Posted  Tuesday, December 1   2015 at  02:00

KAMPALA. Another close-out game of a series delivered a familiar result for UCU Canons – defeat – that will set memories of past failures flooding back.

KIU Titans, 76-74 winners in Sunday’s Game Four of the five-game Pepsi Fuba League Playoff semifinals to tie the series at 2-all at the Lugogo MTN Arena, benefited from UCU’s generosity.

StarTimes Falcons (2007), Tiger Head Power (2008), Stanbic Warriors (2012) and City Oilers (2014) have previously profited after surviving elimination at the hand of UCU to advance to the finals.

All four have gone on to lift the championship as UCU await their maiden final appearance following six semifinal heartbreaks before. For KIU coach Hamza Nyambogo, a first final and title are distant. Game Five is tomorrow at YMCA court.

They earned their second life on the back of two veterans, Henry Malinga and Norman Blick, and a running lay-up by Burundian Francis Sokoroza, 11 points, with 20.9 seconds to play. Malinga seemed to have flipped a switch with 21 points and nine rebounds going 9 of 12 around the basket to overcome size disadvantage he has on Ivan Lumanyika and Desmond Owili.Lumanyika scored 22 and nine whereas Owili managed 14 and 10 with Brian Namake on 14, six rebounds and seven assists.
Resolute Blick
Malinga went into a meager war – only to win the battle. Blick’s threes kept them ticking whenever UCU threatened to pull away in a thrilling second half. The four-time MVP scored 15, making 4 of 8 from downtown. While KIU earned their result, UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza, making a habit of getting a routine technical, cannot escape some diabolical calls at the end.

One of those was the time-out at 1.54 with UCU leading 73-71 and a possession to come which he would later admit “was a mistake” to call.

Out of time-outs, UCU couldn’t set up a play after Sokoroza’s layup. The other decision was to withdraw point guard Innocent Oduor for the final play in favour of a more defensive Jonathan Egau. That time-out and the substitution had catastrophe written all over them for UCU and bliss for the opposition. Natuhereza, who also double as coach for UCU Lady Canons, was on the brink of leaving Lugogo on cloud nine as the women’s side beat A1 Challenge 76-69 to reach yet another final.
MEN: KIU 76-74 UCU (Series tied at 2-all)
WOMEN :A1 69-76 UCU (UCU win series 3-1)

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