Kampala — Now the Kyambogo Warriors know why D'Mark Power did not survive Sudi Ulanga and the UCU Canons.
On Sunday at the MTN Arena, Kyambogo must use that knowledge or they will move closer to joining last year's champions on the list of UCU's victims in the 2012 FUBA men's top division Castle Lite playoffs.
The Warriors are 1-0 behind in their best-of-five semifinal series with the Canons after a 69-64 defeat late Friday night at the YMCA. Ulanga, the most guilty party in Power's demise, dropped a game-high 23 points on Kyambogo - going 3 of 6 from downtown and 6 of 7 from the charity line.
Desmond Owili, so far the most dominant force in the postseason, snatched 12 points and seven rebounds for UCU. Captain Martin Okwako added 12 points despite suffering a knee injury in the second period that kept him out until late in the third quarter.
Kyambogo were led by Norman Blick, Cyrus Kiviri and Ivan Enabu, with 19, 15 and 13 points respectively. But it was ultimately Kyambogo's overreliance on the backcourt that proved their undoing.
By contrast, UCU's priority was to go to the post and if there was a double team, kick the ball out for a shot or drive.
The match was genuinely gripping, swinging from a 23-11 lead for UCU in the first quarter to Kyambogo taking a 54-47 lead at the end of third period to the Canons sealing the contest with some solid fourth-quarter basketball.
"We kept on encouraging each other and kept our composure," said Okwako, explaining why UCU refused to collapse even after surrendering their early lead.
On a night when matches scandalously started at 9pm and ended at 1am, there was also a 67-52 victory for two-time women champions UCU Canons over A1 Challenge in Game 1 of their semifinals.
FUBA Playoffs, Best-of-five semifinals
Results: Game 1
Men's division 1:
UCU 69 Kyambogo 64
UCU 67 A1 52
Game 2, MTN Arena
Men's division 1
UCU v Kyambogo
Women: A1 v UCU
Men's division 2
Best-of three semis
Rhinos v JV
City Oil v Bush Court
Men's division 3
Ssaku v Livingstone
UMU v Jackets