Friday, September 29
•JKL Lady Dolphins Vs UCU Lady Canons, 7pm
•KIU Titans Vs UCU Canons, 9pm
KIU Titans and UCU Canons face off in what promises to be a pulsating clash, as Game One of the Stanbic-sponsored NBL playoffs semifinals unfolds on Friday at the YMCA Court in Wandegeya.
This captivating series, a best-of-five showdown, will serve as the crucible that separates the contenders from the pretenders, ultimately unveiling the team that will proceed to the grand finale.
There, they will lock horns with the victor of what looks like a one-sided clash between Our Saviour and the illustrious eight-time champions, the City Oilers.
While the battle between KIU and UCU appears to hang in precarious balance, the Titans possess a notable advantage, attributable to their commendable performance throughout the regular season and the quality of their roster.
In the regular season, the two split their results. In the initial encounter, UCU Canons scraped through with a narrow 69-68 victory, but when the calendar turned to June, KIU took a sweet revenge with a commanding 73-55 triumph.
The Titans have showed determination to win the championship crown this season, but their only and last appearance in the finals dates back to 2018 when they succumbed to a 4-1 series defeat against City Oilers.
Since then, the Titans have embarked on a transformative journey, bolstering their ranks with notable acquisitions but all has been in vain.
This season, they went bold again, starting with three from last year’s finalists Nam Blazers – Saidi Amisi, Collins Kasujja, and Peter Obleng.
In the regular season, the Kansanga-based side clinched third spot with a record of 17 wins and 5 losses. However, they climbed the ladder when Nam Blazers withdrew from the Playoffs.
Despite the intriguing coaching appointments of Carey ‘T9’ Odhiambo and Henry Mwinuka, both who have turned down the offers despite training the side at one point, Julius Lutwama will spearhead the team during this crucial spell.
Lutwama, who previously guided the Titans to a resounding 2-0 sweep over KIU Titans, will be banking from the fact that his side is well-rested against UCU, who faced a grueling Game Three to eliminate Power.
This Game One showdown follows UCU Canons’ impressive 85-68 triumph over Power just two days ago, setting the stage for a series that promises nail-biting action and dramatic twists.
The KIU Titans, despite their advantage in terms of quality, must brace themselves for the formidable challenge posed by players of the caliber of Peter Sifuma, Jimmy Otim, Lwabanda Ibanga, and Jerry Kayanga, who are more than capable of turning the tide in favor of UCU.
Meanwhile, the experienced coach, Nicholas Natuhereza, harbors high hopes of guiding UCU Canons to the finals, aiming to help the side avenge past Game Seven heart breaks suffered in 2015 and 2019 finals.
If achieved, it will be off a poor season they narrowly avoided relegation. Nevertheless, UCU will remain buoyant that they can embark on a remarkable journey deep into these playoffs, but a good start will determine how far they can go.
How to Watch: