The National Basketball League tipped off on Friday and the opening weekend continued up to Sunday. The only shock saw new comers YMCA Lady Hamsters beat A1 Challenge, but the rest of the results went as may expected unless you are a Betway Power fan.
Defending Champions City Oilers and JKL Lady Dolphins got off the mark with commanding victories to send a strong statements to their rivals.
Oilers victory against Power, is the first for the six time champions on the opening weekend – I beg to be corrected here.
Chris Omanye, who chopped his cornrows combined with Warriors teammate Jonathan Kambala for the first alley hoop of the season. Isaiah Mabeny and David Deng, the latter at the receiving end also rehearsed that move for UCU against Ndejje.
The league is streamed live via two online platforms – Deep End Sports and Kratos Sports Africa – but none showed up on Sunday at Lugogo where four games where played.
We look at the light part of the story.
Here are some of the moments that might have skipped your eyes. Enjoy.
- One Basket in the whole quarter.
Yes. You are read right. One point in a whole quarter of 10 minutes. A1 Challenge had beaten up on UMU Ravens on Saturday 87-61 but the game seemed to have taken much from them as this showed in their second game against YMCA on Sunday.
The side scored the least points in a quarter – making one point to lose 1-12 in their first quarter Vs YMCA. Racheal Ainamasiko converted her second free throw, coming at one minute and 41 seconds remaining on the first quarter as they were trailing by 10 points. They went on to lose the game 46-52.
YMCA had also managed four points, lose 4-26, in their Saturday game against UCU Lady Canons. Our Saviour scored five points to lose their first quarter 5-20 against JKL. City Oilers (Vs Power) and KIU Titans (Vs Kampala University) both scored 30 points each in one of their quarters in the respective games.
*On record, Jamila Nansinkombi (JKL) scored the first points of the 2019 season, laying up just 49 seconds past the first quarter of the JKL-KCCA game on Friday. Brian Sivachi scored the first points in the men’s category – made a jump-shot at 9:24 in Power’s loss against Oilers.
*YMCA duo Naomi Millicent and Nkumba Ladies pair Fina Busingye and Brenda Ekone played 40 all minutes (40).
*UMU Ravens made the least number of attempts from outside the three point arc – shooting 2 from 10.
*YMCA had only one bench player – Naomi Bosibori.
*Denis Balungu (KIU) made the most number of three point attempts from downtown. Shooting 8-18.
*Players who played more than 20 minutes without scoring a single basket – Paul ‘McGyver’ Odong (Power), Bridget Aber (YMCA), Thierry Cirona (Our Saviour), Emma Apual and Joan Nampungu (Nkumba).
- 2.Managerial Changes:
Hamza Nyambogo who had no coaching job after last year after parting ways with KIU recently, returned to the sidelines for A1 Challenge, and is now assisted by former head coach Stephen Ethan Ambrose.
Moses Okwera was the head coach of Our Saviour when facing JKL Dolphins. The side had Germany coach David Burkowski last season who also had replaced Belton Kirabo.
Albert Aciko left KCCA Leopards where he was an assistant to Ali Mavita. He is fully focused with MUK Sparks which he helped to earn promotion.
KCCA consequently have Robert Mugabe back.
Sudi Ulanga, KIU Titans player, is now the head coach of KIU Rangers and was seen getting some notes from UCU Coach Nicholas Natuhereza at Lugogo.
Henry Malinga is in control at JKL assisted by Kadiba Kabantu as they wait for Mandy Juruni’s return who is on leave in US.
Boniface Okello is now the assistant coach of Arnold Lando at Betway Power.
- 3. Nigerian nightmare
City Oilers new Nigerian import Francis Chisioke Ajolibe will want to forget Friday night easily. He fouled out after playing for just 6 minutes!!
His debut was in doubt because even on game day, it was not clear if his Hepatitis B card was cleared. There he came, tall and donning jersey eleven, shooting lights out in the warm up, but more was to come.
He came off the bench with three minutes remaining on the first quarter to replace James Okello. Made a wonderful block and could later pick a good defensive Rebound. He dunked and was given a standing ovation, still inside the first quarter. He finished the first quarter with two fouls and didn’t start the second quarter.
He later came on for Okello again, but never played cautiously until he accumulated five fouls to receive marching orders with one minute and 41 seconds to the end of the second quarter. He was replaced by Ivan Muhwezi, he had averaged a foul at least after a minute he was on court.
A nightmare debut in the Uganda league for the Nigerian.
The opposite can be said of Congolese player for Pemba Warriors Jonathan Kambala who was a full force against KCCA Men. Scoring 15 points, four rebounds and 3 assists.
Geoffrey Omondi returned to the court after sitting out for a year since leaving City Oilers. He turned out for KCCA where he was joined by fellow Veteran Norman Blick.
- 4. JKL New Kit
They continue to set the standard, they mean business. And like they say, simple things first.
JKL Lady Dolphins played in a new kit – light blue with some white linnings, and yes, it came with a good omen as they managed to tear KCCA Leopards into pieces.
Falcons, returning in the league after a year from the lower division abyss, donned a Chicago Bulls like jersey. But it wasn’t enough as they lost to a resilient Sharing Youth side.
Ndejje University Angels also had a new kit for the first time in the league, playing in an all white jersey, but with some Chinese writings on it.
- 5. KIU Score 107 Points
Last season, KIU Titans and Warriors scored 100s, with one team at the receiving end – UPDF Tomahawks. Power put 97 past Rhino. And both teams (Rhino and UPDF) went down at the end of the season. Kampala University, do you copy?
OK, on Saturday, Kampala University were baptised with fire, losing to Kampala International University (KIU) Titans 75-106.
The scoreline may not suggest what really happened on court, but the new comers put up a strong start. This is how competitive this season may turn out that scoring 75 points may not give you win a win.
For starters, Kampala University won the first quarter 22-23, but couldn’t capitalise on their strong start before KIU’s quality surfaced.
Denis Balungu (30), Michael Bwanga (21), Sudi Ulanga (17) and Henry Okoth (10) scored a combined 78, a tally which is higher than that of KU.
Elsewhere, the tightest game of the weekend saw Nkumba Lady Marines win by one point against Angels, 61-60.
The Weekend in Summary:
Friday, April 12
*JKL Lady Dolphins 70-49 KCCA Leopards
*Betway Power 66-69 City Oilers
Saturday, April 13
*MUK Sparks 41-62 KIU Rangers
*YMCA Lady Hamsters 42-77 UCU Lady Canons
*A1 Challenge 87-61 UMU Ravens
*KIU Titans 75-106 Kampala University
*Falcons 59-63 Sharing Youth
*KCCA Men 61-75 Warriors
Sunday, April 14
*Angels 60-61 Nkumba Lady Marines
*A1 Challenge 46-52 YMCA Lady Hamsters
*Our Saviour 54-77 JKL Dolphins
*Ndejje Angels Vs UCU Canons