- KIU Titans 59-65 Power
- KCCA Leopards 56-50 JKL Lady Dolphins
As the National Basketball League playoffs near, teams are making their final push to get ready for the postseason. However, the Friday night encounter between KIU Titans and Power showed nothing as such, particularly in the first half.
The Titans had winger Denis Balungu and point guard Michael Bwanga fully back but both looked out of synch with the rest of the group. Balungu got limited touches at the offensive end in the opening quarter, Bwanga never stepped off the bench until the third quarter.
While both teams struggled to execute, Power – as usual – mindlessly ran the floor as Joseph Ikong and Paul Odong set the tone for the largely ugly first quarter that they won, 17-12.
The second quarter was equally ugly. Titans coach Brian Wathum chose to continue with his small line-up that had Francis Kasinde at center and Joseph Dramaza at power forward. Henry Okoth, Collins Kasujja and Nunda Kiryowa were on the perimeter and it was as untidy as it gets. Power opened a double-digit lead that grew to 18 points (42-24) at the break.
Titans went for the press and man to man through the third quarter and Power suffocated. Bwanga was called off the bench to join Sudi Ulanga, Kasujja, Balungu and Kasinde and some sanity was restored with KIU trimming the deficit to just 5 points (41-46) at the end of the third.
Power captain Fahmy Sebatindira connected from 3-point range at the start of the fourth but the Titans stayed locked in with Kasinde delivering before Balungu tied the game at 53 with a reverse lay-up midway the frame.
Syrus Kiviiri them put Power back in the lead with a pair of free throws but Ulanga quickly tied the game. Still employing the press, Kasujja forced Kiviiri to cough up the ball but the guard could not finish the open lay-up.
Libe Makala, at the other end sunk a jumper followed by a coast to coast from Kiviiri to give Power a four-point with under four minutes to play. Despite Balungu twice pulling KIU within two points (57-59 and 59-61), Titans were out of legs and Kasujja jerked up a 3-pointer to give Makala an opportunity to ice the game.
Isaac Afidra scored team-high 12 points off the bench to pace Power, Makala and Ikong contributed 10 points apiece.
Kasinde, the only Titan to reach double figures, tallied game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds. Ulanga and Balungu scored 8 points each.