No Bwanga, Balungu and Aden, No problem for KIU Titans
KIU Titans – Sam Agutu, Oscar Muge, Peter Obleng, Henry Okoth, Elvis Mutebi, Francis Kasinde, Joseph Dramaza, Steven Oryan, Stanley Mugerwa
City Oilers – Jimmy Enabu, Ben Komakech, Ivan Muhwezi, Joseph Ikong, Caesar Kizito, Michael Makiadi, James Okello, Landry Ndikumana, Goxyang, John Dombo, Ama
KIU Titans coach Brian Wathum has expressed confidence in his team after a 73-54 victory against City Oilers in a preseason friendly.
KIU Titans didn’t need any of their stars, especially at the back court, to overcome the seven-time champions on Easter Monday.
They got off the block with vigour to close the first quarter 18-09 and blew up the side in the second quarter 23-09 to take a 41-18 lead at the long break.
Oilers mounted a comeback in the third which they won 23-15 but the Titans did enough to edge the last quarter 17-13 to take the 73-54 win in an entertaining game at KIU court in Kansanga.
This is the third preseason game for KIU who kicked off with a 64-55 win over Nam Blazers (Friday) before losing 70-63 to JKL Dolphins (Saturday).
“I think we are headed in the right direction, I like where we are at, of course if someone asks me percentage wise we are now operating at 50%, there are a lot of things we did wrong even if we won, that’s the beauty of this game and preseason,” KIU Titans coach Brian Wathum told The-SportsNation.
He added: “Its a good confidence booster, it’s very important to know that we can win even without those stars in our team, we did a good job and these friendlies are for them to get into that mindset.”
Elvis Mutebi scored 14 points for the Titans, Henry Okoth added 13 while Peter Obleng contributed 11 points to the cause.
For Oilers, James Okello had 11 points while new signing Caesar Kizito added eight points.
Few will read anything from the Oilers loss despite the side fielding their best unit, and Wathum was not carried away despite raising a fist in the air at the fulltime buzzer.
“You could see from their mentality today, City Oilers really wanted to have a good pickup game, they are a good team, they will bounce back, this loss means nothing to them, I know they will get to the drawing board and bounce back,” Wathum said.
KIU Titans probable starting five for the NBL season has Michael Bwanga, Faisal Aden, Denis Balungu, Oscar Muge and Stanley Mugerwa.
Wathum says that there is still more work to be done especially going forward.
“There is a lot more to be desired on offence, defence is okay, we are sticking to the principles, i think we are doing a great job there.”
The league, per the NBL fixture, will be played at KIU and UCU courts, giving KIU Titans an advantage.
“I am glad we have home court advantage and it will play a very huge role.”
On season targets, Wathum didn’t mince his words: “We are built with high expectations, when you come to the club there is nothing shorter than winning a championship, every year for the last five years we talk about one thing and that is a championship. The difference between the last time and this year, we have a very competitive team, so I believe that this year if we manage to keep ourselves into the final, we have a very big chance to go all the way.
“Its pretty simple, our job is to deliver, the signings we have made are strategic and it has put us in a position to compete all the way.”
KIU Titans lost the 2017 NBL finals to City Oilers, the closest they have come to winning the too flight league Championship.
The season starts on April 17