It’s been a wonderful week for the basketball community, unless you are a KIU Titans or Betway Power fan. The weekend was short though, all due to lack of action on Saturday.
JKL teams owned the weekend as they managed to send both their teams (Lady Dolphins and JKL Dolphins) to the summit of both divisions – Men and Women. But UCU on the other hand, smiled in Nairobi after scooping gold in the concluded third edition of the Afro-varsity 3X3 basketball championship.
There was a big one on Friday were Oilers slapped KIU Titans in face in front of their vocal fans, but more drama was Sunday’s late game between JKL and Power, with the latter squandering a lead to lose their second game of the season.
It promises to be a long week though, with four games coming up on Wednesday, not to mention the big menu on Friday that has UCU Lady Canons take on KCCA Leopards (moved from Wednesday) and Power-Warriors duel.
Here are some of the big talking points from the weekend:
- Our Saviour Skating On Thin Ice
Our Saviour Basketball club did not learn anything from last season when they survived the drop.
This season, there is lack of quality in their squad depth following the departure of Mulamba Nkumbi, Brian Ssentongo, Joseph Wacha and Daniel Manoja.
At the weekend, the side remained winless, losing their third game of the season, after squandering a six point first half lead to succumb to Sharing Youth’s superiority.
They looked second best against JKL and UCU, but the loss against Sharing Youth will be the one they will look back and feel hard done by.
They face a wounded Betway Power team on May 5, and their winless run is expected to remain intact.
The addition of Thierry Cirona was a good move but they will need Wilberforce Pirwoth, Diego Anghemi, Davis Assimwe among others to be at their best if they can win any game this season.
The Kikoni based side managed just seven wins, one better than relegated Charging Rhino, to beat the drop. It might take a big miracle for Our Saviour to survive.
KCCA, Kampala University and Falcons remain the other teams yet to win a game this season.
- KIU Titans Missing Chris Omanye?
KIU Titans won everyone’s hearts by beating up on Oilers in the regular season and of course, those close 2017 finals series.
Three games into the season, KIU have already lost two of their three games to Betway Power and City Oilers.
Much as it is still early to change for the better and get things click again, but the fact will remain that they let go of a 20 point per game player.
In the 60-71 loss to Power, only Michael Bwanga (15) managed to score double point figures. The side shot a lowly 21-of-70 from the field.
Chris used to not only get them playing but also had the ability to take matters into his own hands and score from fast breaks. At least when Sudi Ulanga was not clicking, the damage could not be felt. Sudi managed four points in the loss against Power. He only made one point in the loss against City Oilers.
Francis Kasinde has not yet shown any sign of being productive for his new team. Brian Ssentongo has since his early days blown hot and cold. He at times impress but never get off the mark.
- Strangled Referee Onen Returns
Alex Onen needs no introduction since that infamous altercation with Oilers manager Hajji Mohammed Santur last season.
He was fined for four weeks and after serving his fine, he managed to officiate some few games later in the playoffs.
Since the start of this season, Onen had not officiated any game and rumours had it that he had joined Football refereeing.
However, sources had it that Onen was still officiating some local schools basketball competitions and that had delayed his return.
He returned on Sunday where he officiated two games – Our Savior Vs Sharing Youth and JKL Vs Betway Power.
He made some decisions that left many fans opposing but he is known to sticking to his calls and that makes him standout, always.
- Can anyone stop JKL Lady Dolphins?
The Lady Dolphins are firing on all cylinders and the peak of their form is nowhere in sight.
Few days into the season, they have already shown that this is their title to defend, beating up on all rivals – KCCA Leopards, UCU Lady Canons, A1 Challenge and on Sunday, Nkumba Lady Marines showed less resistance.
Agsint Nkumba, they led the first quarter 16-9 without Jamila Nansikombi. Starting on court with Brenda Nakitende, Muhayimuna Namuwaya, Feza Ebengo, Jane Asinde and Angela Namirimu. And to make matters worse, they won even without Rita Imanishimwe.
The ladies race will be between JKL and UCU Lady Canons, but this will be made tight only if Coach Nicholas Natuhereza is around.
Hope Akello is slowly proving to be the new team’s backbone but the coaches must also try to quench more minutes from other big men on the team – Stella Oyella, Muhayi and Atulinda Moureen.
Wednesday, April 24
Women: UMU Ravens 45-48 KIU Rangers
Men: Falcons 63-81 Ndejje Angels
Friday, April 26
*Men: City Oilers 83-79 KIU Titans
*Women: JKL Lady Dolphins 70-42 A1 Challenge
Sunday, April 28
*YMCA Lady Hamsters – Angels
*MUK Sparks 37-64 UMU Ravens
*Nkumba Lady Marines 49-76 JKL Lady Dolphins
*Our Saviour 57-68 Sharing Youth
*JKL Dolphins 62-59 Betway Power