Wednesday, November 27
Women: JKL Lady Dolphins 69-71 UCU Lady Canons
Men: UCU Canons 67-59 City Oilers
UCU Canons withered through the storm to beat six time champions City Oilers in NBL Finals game one highlighted by contested officiating calls.
UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza and small forward David Deng Kongor were both ejected in a highly entertaining eventful affair at Lugogo.
The 2019 league’s number one seeding won 67-59 to take game one of the best of seven finals.
After the final buzzer, fans chanted referee Baker Kyambadde Mandy’s name, to show their discontent and disapproval of what they constantly termed as “biased and poor officiating’.
Mandy gave coach Nick an automatic ejection with two minutes remaining on the second quarter for tirade. Nick had earlier showed his dissatisfaction but his criticism and argument was not tantamount to a disqualification.
The coach hugged his players as he issued out brief instructions before he walked off, amidst boos directed at referee Mandy.
The Canons – under Lukaire Sam, Yahaya Kalyesubula and Ema Kiguyi – later connected well with the fans who got behind the team, to take a 30-28 halftime lead.
Dikong, who had earlier received a technical foul in the second quarter, found himself in hot soup again; the forward, after being fouled by Drilleba at the baseline, purposely hit the ball onto Drilleba’s head in the name of retrieving the ball back to play.
Mandy, after consulting with fellow official Mariam Birungi who had called the initial foul made on Dikong, deemed the forward’s action as hostile and handed him his second technical foul to walk off amidst protests, with less than a minute to the end of third quarter as UCU were leading 50-42.
Mandy failed to control the game better when under duress from the big crowds at a sale out Lugogo Arena.
Canon City Draw First Blood
Titus Lual came to the party from onset when he won the jump ball and was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc before making his two free throws to score UCU’s first eight points and set the tone.
Lual ended the game with 15 points, his 10 points coming in the first half. The supporting cast of Fayed Baale (14), Isaiah Mabeny Ateer (12) and Fadhil Chuma (11) contributed points in double figures. The latter managing to clear the board 15 times.
James Okello scored 17 points, Drilleba added 15 while Landry Ndikumana managed 10 points for Oilers who shot 16-of-56 from the field in the first half.
Oilers who had initially pulled out from playing the finals because of a “lack of enough time” to prepare for the upcoming BAL Qualifiers in Rwanda, will seek to level matters in game two on Friday at Lugogo.
Game three will be played on Sunday while the remainder of the series will be played at a later date after City Oilers return from Rwanda.