Semis Game One
Friday, November 15
*KCCA Leopards Vs UCU Lady Canons – 6:30PM
*Warriors Vs City Oilers – 8:30PM
Strange things have happened in Ugandan basketball but one thing has been a constant – City Oilers have never been at a wrong end of an NBL Playoffs series!
Six time champions in a row, and still counting. Anyone doubting? Yes, it is Warriors.
Warriors must be at their extreme best to break history and become the first team to overcome City Oilers as the sides face off in the 2019 NBL Semifinals best of five playoffs.
Game one tips offs at MTN indoor arena, Lugogo at 8:30PM.
Ndejje University Angels came close, just like all other teams have been, to knocking out Oilers when they forced a game three in the quarters before they were shot lights out 85-58. The series was so close, yet so far.
In all their previous seven years in top flight, this year’s Oilers might rank to be one of the weakest at the moment. Jimmy Enabu has all but walked out, Nigerian import Francis Chisioke Azolibe has been ruled out for after suffering a knee injury while Jonathan Egau will also miss the contest, awaiting official club confirmation.
However, they still remain a better team on paper by miles as compared to the rest – The available starting five of Josh Johnson, Tonny Drilleba, Stephen Omony, James Okello and Landry Ndikumana still looks more decent. Whether they are still hungry for more domestic honour will be a discussion for another day following their recent progress in BAL Qualifiers.
Can Warriors Upset Odds?
“Yes of course. I believe this is our time. This is it,” said confident Warriors coach Ronnie Mutebi. “We foresaw this moment even before this year’s season started that’s why we intentionally recruited the players we have.
“We have prepared for this encounter since day one this year. Of course they’re the 6 times defending champions but that’s history and clearly we don’t want to live in the past. We are hungry for victory and come game time, we will give our best to ensure we achieve our goal.”
Its that confidence and self belief that has brought Warriors here but they will need more than that if they are to break something Power, KIU Titans, UCU Canons and Falcons have failed at during their best.
Warriors will have to be solid at both ends of the court, they have to execute accordingly and press City Oilers at every opportunity.
Warriors beat Oilers 68-66 in the first round of the regular season at YMCA before Juruni’s side made amends with a 83-59 revenge in the second round.
The side showed character, through needed a decider, to oust KIU Titans with a 62-55 victory in game three few weeks back and must replicate such performance and stay in character when facing probably the best team in the region.
“We have worked on ball movement, help defense plus better team work in these weeks we were off. We hope to play as a unit against Oilers,” revealed Mutebi.
Jonathan Kambala has not fully recovered from his injury while and coach Mutebi also added that a couple of his players are still injured but will be monitored.
Amisi ‘Carmelo’ Saidi, Chris Omanye, Mark Opiyo, Kambala, Michael Buzangu, Stanley Mugerwa among others, coach Mutebi has a competitive roster that can surely match Oilers’.
Let the games begin.