The past one year came with so many positives for local basketball, largely eclipsed by the Silverbacks and Gazelles qualification for the continental showpieces – with the Gazelles doing it for the first time.

While the Silverbacks had achieved this feat back in 2005 (…and didn’t even make the trip to Afrobasket for lack of funds), this year’s qualification created more effervescent vibes among basketball faithfuls and the ladies qualification to All Africa Games as well made it even sweeter.

Passage of time does not only dull memory but sometimes utterly erases things that actually happened, but one thing it cant and wont erase is the climax of the 2014 FIBA Africa Zone V Nations qualifiers on Sunday, September 28 that saw Team Uganda qualify for the continental show down under unbearable levels of tension inside the MTN Arena back in September.

The two teams broke barriers that had over the years seen them gasp at the final hurdle. The Gazelles 64-61 edge of Kenyans was followed by Silverbacks 69-60 triumph over Rwanda and the continental jinx was broken.

City Oilers thorough breds on the gallop
On the club front, the City Oilers stamped their feet on the league by defending the championship. The second year team put their focus of the off season on upgrading their roster – looking at key scorers and important additions to the team.
 
Two significant additions to last season’s winning team in Benjamin Komakech from Power and Geoffrey Omondi from Falcons saw Oilers win the National Basketbal League on short order with a 4-0 sweep of Power for a repeat. Kami Kabange and Jimmy Enabu were again uncontainable.
 
The Oilers also made a case on the first asking in the Zone V Club Championships in Mombasa winning bronze ahead of Power, a team they beat to the third place.

KCCA Leopards dethrone UCU Lady Canons.
Going into the women’s finals of the National Basketball League, the KCCA Leopards and UCU Lady Canons had met in the previous three with Lady Canons winning two of those inclunding the 2013 championship.
After dropping the opening game, the Lady Canons won the next three and seemed destined for repeat but scoring machine Claire Lamunu, Rebecca Akulo and Flavia Oketcho led Leopards to win the next three games and clinch the championship 4-3.

UCU JV, Bushcourt make the NBL
The Entebbe Knight Riders swept through Division I with the best record in the regular season and looked like they would return to the National Basketball League.
On getting into the playoffs, they couldnt get past Bushcourt who probably were in celebration mode after leading 2-0 in the finals as they eventually lost to UCU JV 3-2.

Gladiators, Amazon return to the NBL
The Gladiators didn’t want to stay in the lower division for more than one season. They imposed their dominance in Division I through the year including sweeping Amazon 3-0 in the best-of-five finals.

Emperors finally out of the D-League
Good things come to those who wait so they say. It had been quite a wait for Samuel Bahwayo and it ended when Emperors beat Gulu Hoop Rockers 3-1 to jump out of the Development League. Congratulations are in order for the National U-18s coach. Well done, Bavi!

Ndejje, Makerere take University honours
2014 also saw the introduction of the University Basketball League that was sponsored by Zuku TV. Uganda Christian University (Men &Women) were favourites to win the inogural varsity league in the absence of Kampala International University (KIU).
However, despite making finals in both categories, UCU did not see any glory as they lost to Ndejje University (Men) and Makerere University (Women). Guard, Jonah Otim (who was also named the MVP) along with Geoffrey Soro and Brian Odur led Ndejje while Claire Lamunu (named MVP) and Winnie Anyango proved too much to contain for UCU Ladies.

2014 Winners:
League: City Oiler (Men) KCCA Leopards (Women)
Division I: UCU JV (Men) Gladiators (Women)
D-League: Emperors
Zuku University League: Ndejje (Men) Makerere (Women)

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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