The Observer (Kampala)

13 December 2012

Uganda: Expect Thrillers

Ahead of tonight's crucial matches in the basketball playoffs finals at Lugogo Arena, it's all square in the both the men and ladies after Warriors and Leopards levelled their series against Falcons and Lady Canons respectively, writes Felix Eupal. In tying the men's best-of-seven series 2-2 on Wednesday night, Warriors dug deep at the death to snatch a deserved 78-70 win over the Blue Cube Falcons. The seesaw encounter had Falcons wipe out an 11-point deficit in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter but with the game finely poised at 69-68 in favour of Warriors, Falcons froze when it mattered most.

Falcons have themselves to blame for failing to win the game on the charity line despite outmatching Warriors in rebounding 42-25. That said, the game's biggest determinant was the effectiveness of the bench. Falcons performed terribly and made only nine compared to 40 points they managed in Game three.

On the other hand, Warriors' bench stepped up with 22 points to tip the scales. For one, Sam Gombya stood out with 10 points and an amazing 17 rebounds in the 21 minutes he played.

Warriors have struggled on the boards throughout the series; so, they need to ensure that Gombya doesn't get into foul trouble if they are to take advantage of Falcons' inconsistency.

Meanwhile, Falcons coach Tony Oluka has told his charges to forget about the controversial refereeing calls and just focus on winning. Falcons still have the upper hand in the overall play but they will need to change their composure and find a way of stopping Norman Blick, who dropped a game-high 26 points in Game 3.

In the ladies category, it all seemed routine when UCU Lady Canons took a 2-0 lead in the ladies series but the relentless KCCA Leopards have clawed their way back with a new wave of determination.

In winning 53-50 on Wednesday, Leopards kept the game close with an all-out defensive approach and seized the lead when frustration got the better of the Lady Canons. So, fans are in for a thriller on both fronts this evening.

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