Canons leave it late as Namake dumps Warriors to win series 2-1
2016 PEPSI QUARTER-FINAL PLAYOFFS RESULTS
- PEMBA WARRIORS 62 – CANONS 63 (Canons win series 2-1)
- CANONS vs CITY OIL (November 9) KIU vs POWER (November 11)
- LADY CANONS vs A1 CHALLENGE (November 9)
- KCCA vs JKL DOLPHINS (November 11)
Last-minute drama characterised game 3 of the quarterfinals between the UCU Canons and Pemba Warriors on October 30, at the YMCA Courts in Wandegeya. Brian Namake’s buzzer-beater sent the nervous Canons’ fans into ecstasy while their Warriors counterparts were left broken-hearted. RONALD AWANY and AGATHA MUTEBI write,
The tie was a decisive one for the Canons who overturned an earlier game loss to book a spot in game three.
The Canons lost the first quarter 24-21 to a seemingly more focused of the two sides. The second and third quarters were not any different as the Canons still trailed the Warriors 33- 28 and 46-40 respectively.
However, the turning point came in the fourth quarter as the game picked up intensity. Chuma Fadhili and Michael Madol took charge, to level the score at 48 points, before Jonathan Egau added two and a 3-pointer from Wundi put the Canons ahead, raising the cheering fans to their feet.
Nevertheless, Warriors’ point guard Opio had other things on mind: a 3-pointer from him tied the game at 59, with 58 seconds left.
Two points from the line sent the Canons to 61 but a quick 3-pointer response from former Canon, Syrus Kiviiri, put the Warriors in the lead at 62-61 with just seven seconds on the clock.
The Warriors’ fans started celebrating, thinking the victory was theirs, before Canons’ coach, Nicholas Natuhereza, called for his last time out. He designed a play that had Namake receive the inbound pass and set up Wundi for three points, but the shooting guard missed.
As time seemed to freeze for both sides, Namake picked the rebound and banked it, to beat the horn. 63-62 it was! And the Canons were through to the semi-finals in a repeat of last season’s final where they face defending champions City Oil in a best-of-five game series.
Canons’ captain Jonathan Egau applauded his teammates for the win.
“It was a really tough game for us. Looking at how we played we could have avoided a decisive game if only we had capitalized on our mistakes in the first game,” he said.
“We played as a unit and won as a unit. We now look forward to the next challenge. City Oil is a tough opponent
who we respect but do not fear. We have played them before numerous times. We know their strengths and weaknesses and we shall capitalize on that. Right now the morale is high, the coach is ready, and the boys are ready. We have our eyes on the finals,” he added.
On the other hand, the Lady Canons play A1 Challenge while KCCA Leopards play JKL Dolphins in the semi-finals of the women’s playoffs on November 9 and 11 respectively.