The Men’s National Basketball League playoffs finals will take a break until January to give City Oilers time to prepare and compete in the Basketball Africa League qualifiers scheduled for December 17-22 at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The seven-game series take a break at a time when UCU Canons are trailing 2-1 despite winning the opening game.
With a strong interior defensive performance coupled with frictional ball movement from the Oilers, Canons edged the series opener 67-59. Not even the ejection of their head coach Nick Natuhereza and star forward David Deng derailed them.
For what they are and what they have done since their Division One season, City Oilers were always going to respond. And so they did, winning Game 2, 78-73, with Landry Ndikumana the tormentor in chief from inside out.
City Oilers ran out to a good start in Game 3, winning the first quarter 18-9 thanks in part to UCU’s failure to take care of the ball.
“I think we failed to take care of the ball in transition during the first quarter,” Natuhereza said.
Ndikumana was devastating from inside and out as he had many wide-open looks especially from beyond the arc whenever his marker was drawn in to help.
“It (basketball) is a give and take. We are fine with them taking outside shots but we always want to make it as tough as possible inside. Credit to them, they moved the ball well to get open shots.
City Oilers more often played a man to man defense especially on UCU’s shooters, Isaiah Ater and Jerry Kayanga as well as point guard Fayed Baale.
“Even with that (defense) we still got some open looks but the shots were not falling. There are going to be days like that.
“I’m glad that we are trailing because the players will probably be more focused when we prepare for the rest of the games than they would be if we were leading.”