Fayed Baale (Right) of UCU tries to stop City Oilers Jimmy Enabu. FUBA
Friday, January 17
*City Oilers 73-78 UCU Canons
(Series tied 3-3)
*The National Basketball League is sponsored by Tusker Lite
Who said it was over? Its not. Until its over.
Entertaining point guard Fayed Baale inspired UCU Canons to beat City Oilers in a thrilling game six and level the best of seven NBL finals series at 3-2 to force a decider at the Indoor Arena in Lugogo.
Baale constantly unleashed his bag of tricks to keep the sale-out crowd at it’s own feet as he strolled through Oilers defense.
He beefed up his dribbles with tricky crossovers and finished off with floaters as he managed 11 points and three assists, with his performance awarded with a deserved player of the match accolade.
David Deng Kongor shot 7-for-9 to garner 15 points and Titus Lual added 11 before the duo fouled out down the stretch. Fadhil Chuma contributed 7 points and 11 rebounds, Isaiah Mabeny Ateer and Caesar Adoke had nine points each for the Canons.
James Okello had a game high 27 from 9-for-19 shooting from the field while Landry Ndikumana and Tonny Drilleba added 12 points each in a losing effort.
Oilers who needed a win to seal their seventh crown, dug a big pit for themselves when they trailed 5-19 after the first quarter.
The six-time champions drew first blood with a Jimmy Enabu three-pointer at the start but that was the only time they were in front, and when UCU pushed the top gear, Oilers never recovered despite commendable efforts.
The Mandy Juruni coached side edged the second quarter 25-19 to reduce the deficit to eight points at the long break.
After an exchange, Oilers staged a 9-0 run before James Okello made both of his free-throws for Oilers to trail by two points with 20 seconds remaining.
Back from a UCU timeout, Landry collected his fifth foul and his last piece of action when he tripped the dazzling Baale who managed to convert one of the two free-throws.
Tyron Martin and Jerry Kayanga were also sent to the line in the closing seconds and the duo made just one each to seal a laboured win.
UCU out-rebounded Oilers 59-41 despite making 23 turnovers against Oilers’ 16. Oilers also missed 24 out of their 32 free-throws on the night they also shot 22% from beyond the arc.
Game seven, a reminiscent of 2015 final, is on Sunday at 5PM as UCU will be hoping to end Oilers dominance.