Wednesday, August 10
•Ndejje Angels 85-75 Tropical Royals
•Our Saviour 68-55 Power
Tropical Royals have been relegated back to Division One after just a season in National Basketball League.
Brian Rugyendo’s side lost 75-85 to Ndejje University Angels in a do-or-die game at the Indoor Arena in Lugogo.
The Royals will play their last game against UCU Canons on Friday for formality because they can no-longer finish above at least three teams.
Tropical Royals who have won eight and lost 15, join Falcons (0-24) and Victoria University (5-19) as the three relegated teams from NBL.
Ndejje led 22-15 after the first quarter and Tropical Royals never recovered before losing by 10 points.
It was an understandably scrappy affair but its Tropical Royals who failed to handle the game with all the weight it deserved on Wednesday.
And they were duly punished by a Ndejje side that benefited from Tropical Royals’ lack of an elite big man.
Centre Sadat Kassim who has been fringe throughout the season, was given more playing time in a crucial game as Tropical Royals tried to challenge Ndejje’s size.
But he lacked aggressiveness to clear the boards and he was bullied throughout, especially by Joseph Kumbai who made a whooping 20 rebounds.
Samuel Ajak led Ndejje with 23 points, Haron Alinaitwe added 21 while Kumbai scored 13.
Denis Tom Omara (17), Juma Osman (14) and Norman Musinguzi (10) scored in double figures for Tropical Royals.
End of the road for Tropical Royals
Tropical Royals and Our Saviour were the newcomers this season, but the former made themselves hostages to fortune with their failure to beef up their roster that promoted them.
Literally, they never put a foot wrong on court in the first round and won games they were supposed to win.
But it’s their poor second round that has haunted them mostly.
And their season was reduced to an ultimatum of winning their last two games to survive.
Everything that could go wrong did for the Royals on Wednesday night; missed 31 of the 38 three-point attempts, out rebounded 63-42, struggled to move the ball seamlessly and failed to create open shots.
On Wednesday, it’s Ndejje who played with purpose, and their reward is another season in top flight.
Tropical Royals will play at Nakasero not under Lugogo lights next season, but with a couple of lessons learnt, coach Rugyendo will remain optimistic that they have what it takes to quickly bounce back.