Dates: March 30 and 31
Men – UCU Canons, City Oilers, Betway Power, Falcons, Sharing Youth, Pemba Warriors, Our Saviour, UMU Ravens, Ndejje University, UPDF Tomahawks, Phenoms, KCCA Men, JKL Dolphins
Women – Javon Ladies, MUK Sparks, Magic Stormers, UMU Ravens, Angels, JKL Lady Dolphins, UCU Lady Canons, KCCA Leopards
All is set for the ninth edition of the UCU Invitational Basketball tournament. As the name goes, the tourney that fine tunes teams ahead of the National Basketball League, is hosted by and at UCU University in Mukono.
Giants City Oilers make a return to the tourney, where it all began. The side had missed the last two editions – 2018 and 2017.
In 2013, Oilers in their third year of existence and fresh from the lower league, made a statement of intent when they won the UCU Open.
Prior, Oilers recruited over half the squad including Kyambogo Warriors’ championship winning coach Mandy Juruni, Power’s Jimmy Enabu, Kami Kabenge from Espoir, Rwanda, guard Mohammed Yusuf and forward Andrew Opio both from Miracle Eagles before going on to clinch the UCU Open in 2013.
The side went on to win the National Basketball league, and the rest as they say, is now history.
Oilers, who have now won the league title a joint record six times, together with Falcons, have confirmed their participation in the 2019 UCU Open, and they are the favourites for all the reasons known.
Hosts UCU Canons who won this invitational in 2017 beating Warriors, will give Oilers a big run for their money. UCU also beat City Oilers in 2014 UCU open.
Betway Power, the defending Champions, Pemba Warriors and KIU Titans will be the other teams to look out for.
The Women Category
In the Women category, UCU Lady Canons will go all out to clinch this ninth edition, a tourny they have won in the last two years.
Natuhereza, Coach of the UCU teams, told SportsNation:
“This is a very important to us as the hosts, its a good competition in preparation for the up coming season.
“I will use this to show me the whether the work we have been doing in preparation will pay off.”
The Lady Canons won the first edition in 2010, in what was Natuhereza’s first year at the University. They also triumphed in 2012 and 2014.
A1 Challenge will miss out but league defending Champions JKL Lady Dolphins and semifinalists KCCA Leopards are the other teams to look out for.