Taunted as the biggest basketball game in the land, the City Oilers and Nam Blazers took to the court at 9:00 PM on Friday night to a nearly full MTN Arena. Both sections of the fan base sang their lungs out to rally their team to victory.
The City Oilers won the highly contested fixture 57:51 to wrap up their first round of the National Basketball League action as they now embark on preparation for continental duties.
The City Oilers, like they have been doing all season rested some key players in the likes of Jimmy Enabu, Titus Odeke, and Fayed Baale who is still out injured with the hamstring that he picked up against UCU Canons.
As they have done against most teams, City Oilers went into the break with a 20-point lead against their rivals Blazers and the worry around the basketball circles, this was going to be another walkover for the defending champions who entered the break with a 41-21 lead.
But no one saw the bricklaying contest in the second half come in. One would be correct also to say that Nam Blazers did a fantastic job of switching their defending from zonal marking in the first half to man-to-man defence in the second half. In the third quarter, the City Oilers managed only six points while the Nam Blazers managed twenty-one points to bring the game the closest it had been the whole night.
In the fourth quarter, it was a show of who could miss better as the Oilers managed just ten points while the Blazers managed just nine points. Both teams averaged one point per minute for an entire quarter of ten minutes.
The second half was a classic show of bricking. Not that this isn’t a characteristic of Ugandan basketball but two of the best teams in the land and that is what was on display? Both teams will need to train every day for the next three hundred days on their free throws as both could have had an opportunity to win the game at the line.
Ruai Luak from the City Oilers was voted man of the match after he dropped twenty-three points, twelve rebounds, and four steals. A workforce like no other, Raui Luak on the night pushed the Oilers to victory.
The Oilers, who have averaged sixty-three points per game in the previous eight games, will need to check themselves as the whole focus now turns to the BAL. For the Blazers, there is an opportunity to fix issues, especially with players’ temperament when defending in the last minutes of play.
Also, read: Games will Go On – Uganda Rugby Union
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.