Falcons 62-74 City Oilers
(Oilers win series 4-3)
Rookies City Oil produced a gutsy display to beat the Falcons and secure the Airtel Uganda National Basketball League title on Friday night at MTN Arena Lugogo.Under tough pressure from the Falcons defence, the Oilers were never at their best but scrapped hard and came away in the final quarter to beat the record champions Falcons 74-62 and win the seven-game Castle Lite playoff finals 4-3.
With Oilers’ shooting star Jimmy Enabu under extreme defensive pressure, Ramadhan Arou and Kami Kabange and bench players such as Samuel Kalwanyi and Daniel Juuko came to the party and helped score the points that saw the Wandegeya team deservedly take the title in their first season of asking.
It was the first time a debutant side has won a major Ugandan top-tier sporting competition.
The Oilers made a hot start, racing out to an 16-14 lead after scoring a number of inside baskets while the Falcons could barely land a shot and out scored last year’s losing finalists 15-10 and went into the half time break leading by 7 points (31-24). However, the Falcons tried to rally back in the final period, starting the quarter with an 11-0 run and trimmed the deficit to 10 points (48-58) with 6:01 and did not get any closer than 10 points as Kabange kept pushing Oilers into maintaining the double digit lead.
Falcons’ Philip Ameny scored 15 points and 12 rebounds and Abdullahi Ramadhan 14 in futility . Here, the most organised team waited.
A limping Ramadhan Arou had 10 and five rebounds whereas Samuel Kalwanyi made five blocks to define the multiple facets of the latest party gatecrashers.
Both sides found it tough early in the fourth quarter, but two consecutive CJ Bruton three-pointers helped the Breakers to a 9-0 run midway through the quarter. It gave them a 21-point lead and they cruised their way to the title from that point.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey chasing this title,” Oilers head coach Mandy Juruni said. “I would change nothing.”
Jimmy Enabu finished with 20 points powered the rookies with his scoring and leadership during the run to the final — including massive points against former champions DMark Power in the semi-finals — and will probably earn him the championship MVP award.
“We had a perfect plan, the coach said they would double-team me and that I had to trust my teammates and not to worry if I don’t score much,” Enabu said. “And we made history, it has been a tough season and here we are. I am glad for the team”” he added.
“We didn’t do a bad job defending Enabu, but we forgot about the others,” Falcons coach Gad Etue said.
Oilers’ Juruni said his team had learned from the times it came up short in the regular season.
“It wasn’t the easiest way, but we improved starting with the quarterfinals. It’s the season for us and the first title, you can imagine how we feel,” Juruni said.
FINALS SINCE 2005
2005: Nkumba beat Falcons
2006: Nkumba beat Power
2007: Falcons beat Warriors
2008: Power beat Falcons
2009: Warriors beat Power
2010: Power beat Warriors
2011: Power beat Warriors
2012: Warriors beat Falcons
Here are champions in different categories:
Women National Basketball League (NBL): UCU Lady Canons
Men Division One: Diamonds In the Sun
Women Division One: Nkumba Lady Marines
Development League: UPDF Tomahawks
Promoted teams to Division One (Men): UPDF and Destiny
Promoted to men’s NBL:Diamonds In the Sun and Sharing Youth
Promoted to women’s NBL: Nkumba Ladies, Crane High
Relegated from men’s NBL: Miracles, Victoria University Heaters