- Friday, June 1
- City Oilers vs. KIU Titans – 8:00 pm, YMCA
City Oilers and KIU Titans will face off in the first time since last season’s finals on Friday night at YMCA and once recurrent though is good basketball will be on the display.
Titans were swept aside by Oilers during last season’s finals that were played early this year and the first meeting of the season presents the Kasanga based an opportunity to show progress over the last five months.
KIU Titans did not make a lot of changes to their roster, maintaining the core of last season’s team whose main offensive threat was (and still is) in the back court.
Chris Omanye, Michael Bwanga and captain Suudi Ulanga as well as Denis Balungu off the bench lead KIU on the the offensive end but they are not lacking on the front court.
Like City Oilers, Titans – who are coach by Brian Wathum – like to run a set offense that involves moving the ball around looking for the best shot and will steak to that if the first few games of the season are anything to go by.
With the presence of Ethienne Kazungu – who was underwhelming in the finals series – and the young Oscar Muge, KIU have an option of going down to pound Landry Ndikumana and James Okello as well as new addition Brian Muramba who is yet to find his footing at the Bugolobi based side.
Ulanga is an effective player in the half court and having added the drive to his game, Jimmy Enabu and Stephen Omony will go to work on the defensive end.
Chris Omanye can generate his own offense but he has grown to appreciate team basketball to complement the ability to beat his man in isolation. Michael Bwanga is expeted to direct KIU’s traffic in the second unit that has the likes of Denis Balungu, Mwalimu Kijogoo as well as new comers Joseph Chuma and Wilson Otweyo.
On the other hand, City Oilers probably have more offensive options as the five-time and defending champions can score on transition, go down to their bigs or have Ben Komakech, Omony and Enabu score from 3-point range and occasionally from Jonah Otim, Tonny Drileba and Daniel Jjuko.
Ndikumana, Okello and Muramba may find it tough to work from their office against KIU whose interior defense is quite solid but they still have an edge over the Titans.
Wathum will put out his side to lock the interior but key to Oilers offense is the passing ability and patience of the that gets players open for shots and easy looks at the basket.
Omony – who was KIU’s tormentor in chief during the finals – will definitely be a thorn in KIU’s defensive set up along side Enabu who gives them pace with his quick feet and long hands.
The exposure and experience of Daniel Jjuuko, Jonah Otim and Tonny Drileba as well as Jonah Egau and Josh Johnson who are getting into Oilers set up may give the defending champions an edge in the second unit.