Uganda: Blazers Coach Concerned After Humbling Loss to KIU

Namuwongo Blazers can now tell how tough it is to play in the National Basketball League (NBL).

Having started the season with sloganeering about disposing City Oilers, the talk is now about team gelling, sharing of the ball and defensive stops, three aspects that have been lacking in the side so far.

After yet another defeat on Saturday, head coach Stephen Nyeko is concerned and wants to see better from his troops.

"I am concerned especially when people become ball hogs. That is not team basketball," Nyeko said after the team's 68-78 loss to KIU Titans on Saturday.

"I believe in team basketball and players should trust everyone on the floor," he added.

The Blazers yet again got off to a slow start and trailed 19-10 at the end of the first quarter. They put the foot on the pedal in the second quarter and controlled it to cut the deficit to four points (26-30) at the half.

Titans show resilience

KIU, however, had enough in the tank to hold on to the lead and even stretched to 18 points at one point in the fourth frame enroute to their third win from four games.

With the Titans short-handed in the paint, the blazers failed to take advantage and were punished.

Stanley Mugerwa and Francis Kasinde were both out with malaria while Oscar Muge is nursing a wounded finger.

Brian Wathum's charges, however, went on to dominate the Blazers on the boards with only Ariel Okall, Stephen Oryem and Peter Obleng sharing roles in the paint.

Michael Bwanga and Dennis Balungu also pulled down rebounds in a collective performance.

The men in green gathered 59 rebounds compared to the 42 for the Blazers. The university side has the players to cause the damage from outside the paint and they did on the day.

Faisal Aden shot four of seven from beyond the arc, Balungu added two of seven while Henry Okoth got two of four.

"We had defensive lapses and that got us off guard especially on the threes," Nyeko said.

KIU scored nine of 26 from three-point range.

Back to drawing board

The loss is Namuwongo's third of the season as they fight to rub shoulders with the big boys.

Okall got a double double of 18 points and 18 rebounds while Aden posted a game high 20 points to put a smile on Wathum's face.

"I am happy with the win. Defence won us the game today," the KIU tactician said.

David Kongor Deng recorded 13 points and 14 rebounds for the losing side.

Meanwhile Betway Power stretched their poor run of form with a 70-82 loss to UPDF Tomahawks.

Arnold Lando's side had Saidi Amisi play his first game buy his 16 points were not enough as Power slumped to a fifth straight loss.

National basketball league

Saturday results

Angels 42-60 KCCA

Power 70-82 UPDF

JKL 78-62 KIU Rangers

Blazers 68-78 KIU Titans

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