Friday, October 14
*JKL Lady Dolphins 67-75 UCU Lady Canons (3-4)
*Nam Blazers 64-66 City Oilers
City Oilers survived a strong Nam Blazers storm to defend their crown for an eighth record extending time!
With Lugogo Indoor Arena filled two hours before tip-off of the Ladies final, the vocal Blazers fans had fancied their team’s chance to ‘remove a dictator.’
But Oilers won 66-64 and clinch a 4-3 series win in the Tusker-Lite sponsored NBL finals series.
And for the first time in a recent while, the champions were awarded with cash prizes – Oilers took home Sh5M while Nam Blazers settled for Sh2.5m courtesy of Tusker-Lite
Francis Azolibe led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Tonny Drilleba (10 points) was the other Oilers players to score in double digits.
Coming into the series, City Oilers’ streak looked threatened against a team that finished the regular season on top.
And in the previous round, they had to overcome UCU Canons at the semis, a side that had taken them to game seven in 2019.
But just like in the past, it always look so close but yet so far. The dictator, as opponents have refered to Oilers, is here to stay.
Their legacy started way back in 2013, and Namuwongo Blazers join a list of casualties that Oilers have massacred in the finals.
That list has Falcons, Power (3), KIU Titans, UCU Canons (2) and now Namuwongo.
But this is one title Oilers will look back and feel it had gotten away from their grasp, having gotten the job done amidst injuries that ruled out Ivan Lumanyika while Jimmy Enabu who had missed the previous two games, was forced into game sevens visibly limping.
Drilleba on the other hand, also had an injury scare midway through the game and was taken into the locker-room before he came back to hold on.
And the Oilers had to recover from five points down at one stage in the fourth quarter to extend their ascendance.
Blazers biggest undoing came into their big men – Amisi Saidi, Daniel Monoja and Ariel Okall – fouling out down the stretch, with the former going out with about three minutes still on clock.
Paul ‘McGyver’ Odong, who previously lost to Oilers in three finals with Power, scored 16 points while Chris Omanye and David Deng Dikong finished with 12 and 11 points respectively.
The result will feel harsh on the Blazers, but they have had a fantastic season on their debut and must walk with their heads held high.
But with quality across their roster, this team looked the best chance to end Oilers’ streak. However, Mande Juruni’s side flourished on experience on a night Blazers will want to forget easily.
The Past Winners
1997: Charging Rhino
2001: Sky Jammers
2005: Nkumba Marines
2006: Nkumba Marines
2013: City Oilers
2014: City Oilers
2015: City Oilers
2016: City Oilers
2017: City Oilers
2018: City Oilers
2019: City Oilers
2020: N/A (COVID)
2021: N/A (COVID)
2022: City Oilers