The Observer (Kampala)

6 December 2012

Uganda: Warriors, Falcons All Square Ahead of Game Three

Ahead of tonight's Game Three of the 2012 basketball Playoffs Finals, the best-of-seven playoffs finals are level 1-1 and it's anyone's game, writes Felix Eupal. Blue Cube Falcons may possess a lot of motivation and hunger to win a record seventh title but the one thing they are lack is character.

Or they haven't shown it yet because in losing 66-78 to Warriors on Wednesday night, Falcons players exhibited no character whatsoever at the Lugogo arena. In fact, they looked disinterested as the game wore on as if to suggest they didn't need to win that particular game to take the title.

Falcons had controlled the first half well with big man Phillip Ameny having most of the ball. But in the second half, they just couldn't match up with the resolve Warriors put up. This Falcons squad might be good or even the best ever assembly of star players in Ugandan basketball but it can't chase a game.

They don't have that signature come-from-behind mentality the Falcons of old was known for. Meanwhile, despite Warriors win, the game also exposed a number of technical flaws from their coach Mandy Juruni.

His boys have a daredevil fighting spirit and move the ball around the court well but Juruni still has a lot to do when it comes to team rotation. For instance, he failed to get the best of Jude Ochen because he played him at the wrong time. Ochen also fell villain many times due to the fact he was matched up with opponents who he can't beat.

Not surprisingly, he walked off with no points and yet he has always been the team's unsung hero many times. Juruni also has to find some playing time for Donald Blick. Blick has been in five finals and though he doesn't give much on offense, he comes in handy on the defensive front and is efficient when it comes to isolating players to kill off a game.

Given chance, he should be the answer to Falcons' instrumental sixth man Steven Mwesigye. On the other hand, Warriors might also have a number of stars on their roster but if they are to win their second championship, they have to ensure that Norman Blick is healthy and fired up like he was on Wednesday.

Norman can carry a team on his shoulders and is unplayable when he gets 'A' game clicking. On Falcons' front, the team needs to rekindle the promise to win this year's title in honour of their fallen founder John Simbwa. Perhaps that will reinvigorate their fighting spirit because they give up so easily. As both teams prepare for game three on Sunday at the YMCA grounds, fans should expect an electric atmosphere.

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