BY RONALD AWANY
2016 PEPSI QUARTER-FINAL PLAYOFFS FOR MEN
-CITYOIL VS UPDF TOMAHAWKS KIU TITANS VS STARTIMES FALCONS
-POWER VS OUR SAVIOUR PEMBA WARRIORS VS UCU CANONS (October 21, 8pm YMCA, Kampala)
After narrowly missing out on Zone V glory in Dar es Salaam, the Lady Canons returned hoping to reclaim domestic glory in the league. With three games to go till the end of the regular season, Nick Natuhereza’s outfit picked up a crucial win against KCCA Leopards.
But surprisingly, they lost to KIU Rangers on October 16. Either way, a top two finish was inevitable although what the Ladies needed was to ensure they topped the group.
This feat they achieved with a 67-56 win over A1 Challenge on October 18 at YMCA courts, Wandegeya.
According to new regulations, the Lady Canons, together with second-placed KCCA Leopards, proceed direct to the semifinals while the third, fourth, fifth and sixth teams play the quarterfinals.
The Nkumba Marines and the Magic Stormers who finished seventh and eighth, respectively, have been relegated to Division One.
Therefore, the Lady Canons will play the winners between A1 Challenge Ladies Basketball Club and Javon Ladies BC while KCCA will face the victor between JKL Dolphins Basketball Club and KIU Rangers.
As for the men’s playoffs, the Canons will start their bestof-three quarter-final quest with Pemba Warriors at YMCA today. Game two and three will be played on October 26 and 30 respectively.
Too close yet too far in Dar es Salaam
The Lady Canons travelled to Dar es Salaam for the FIBA Africa Zone V Championship as underdogs. However, comprising a mostly young and athletic team, the Ugandan league champions picked up four consecutive wins against the Tanzanian pair Don Bosco and JKT, Ugandan counterparts, KCCA and eventual champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
All they had to do was pick up a win over Rwanda’s Ubumwe to guarantee them a second place finish and strengthen their chances of winning the title but a fourth quarter collapse saw the Lady Canons lose 80-84.
After that morale breaking result, Natuhereza’s side still had a do or die shot at the championship, which would be a maiden one for a Ugandan side.
A win of any nature against United States International University (USIU) from Kenya would grant the Lady Canons glory.
But again, the lack of mental stamina to accomplish this under intense pressure seems to have gotten better of the Ladies. They could only afford a below-parperformance, eventually losing 53-57. That is how close so far away regional glory was for the Lady Canons.
Meanwhile, the Canons managed two wins across the tournament and finished sixth in the classification games after failing to qualify for the semi-finals.
Uganda’s City Oil won the men’s championship after defeating Kenya’s Ulinzi Warriors 72-49.