Monday, May 30
•KIU Rangers 67-60 KPA Ladies
•Nam Blazers 59-57 KPA
KPA Centre Vilma Achieng was awed with the vast progress of KIU Rangers after her side suffered a 67-60 loss in a friendly match at Lugogo.
The Rangers showed grit to beat Kenya league champions who are on a preseason tour before the tip-off their league.
Vilma, a former UCU Lady Canons captain, left Uganda in 2019 and has confessed that she felt excited to play again on Ugandan soil.
The Kenyan International joined UCU in 2014 and left at the start of 2019 after completing her Bachelor’s of Education at the Mukono-based University.
“It feels good to play from here again,” Vilma told The-SportsNation with a smile.
“And when I was told that we are coming to play in Uganda, I was so excited to come back and play.”
Vilma, a 2015, 2016 and 2017 NBL playoffs MVP, was limited to just 9 points and 6 rebounds by stifling KIU Rangers defence.
Speaking about the loss, Vilma explained: “It’s not that it will bother us, this is just pre season preparations, it’s just to compare ourselves, moving around the region.”
KPA who won their league this year in February after a five-year wait, also played some friendlies in Rwanda before arriving in Uganda on Sunday.
The Dockers added a couple of new players from the team that beat Equity Bank 3-1 to win the league in the best of five finals.
Among new additions include Jemimah Night from Storms among other new faces, for a side that also didn’t have Hilda Ndasi and Medina Okot.
“There are new players on the team and we just want to see how we gel together,” Vilma, who won a three-peat with UCU, added.
“We are not playing to compete but seeing who works well with who. So that when the league starts, we will be good to go.”
Ines Kanyamunza scored 19 points, including 3-of-5 from downtown. Namwenge Perus had 14 points while youngster Rose Amaniyo had a double double 13 points and 10 rebounds for the NBL side.
“This KIU team has surely progressed, they have good players as well. I have following Ugandan basketball and I can tell you that this is the same competition we could have got from teams like UCU, KCCA or JKL.”
It was an uncharacteristic display for KPA who had no player to score in double figures in the game they failed to exert their dominance.
They trailed by 10 points at halftime and KIU never looked back.
“We are still not there as a team, this game gives us a picture of how far we are. We were too sluggish and I think we still need to do a lot, some of us have not been training, so if you come to a team that has been competing, the difference is there.
“Our coach told us to go out there and have fun, it was not necessarily competition today.”
KIU Rangers who finished the first round second on the log with 7 wins and 2 losses, will start their second round with back-to-back games against Miracle and UCU on June 4 and June 5 in that order.