David Deng and Davis Siagi fight for a loose ball | Credit: John Batanudde
  • Nam Blazers 68-70 City Oilers (Oilers lead series 2-1)
  • JKL Lady Dolphins 62-67 UCU Lady Canons (Lady Dolphins lead series 2-1)

City Oilers were 3-of-15 from 3-point distance but one of the three that went in was more than a 3-pointer, it was a game-winner as the champions beat Nam Blazers, 70-68, in Game 3 of the Tusker Lite National Basketball League Finals on Sunday.

With the game tied at 66, James Okello sucked in David Deng to help before squeezing a pass to Luak Ruai in the corner and the wing knocked down the trey as Deng was late to contest the shot.

Blazers off to a good start

Blazers lead by 8 (18-10) at the end of the opening quarter but the Oilers fought back in the second and leveled the game at 24 on Francis Azolibe’s pair of free throws. The Blazers, however, scored the last four points of the game to lead 28-24.

Namuwongo’s frontcourt was put in foul trouble in the third quarter with Deng, Daniel Monoja, Ariel Okall on 4 fouls save for Amisi Saidi (who barely puts in any effort on the defensive side of the ball) by the end of the period.

Oilers capitalized on the foul situation of their opponents to take charge of the game late in the third quarter.

Namuwongo quickly erased the four-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 47 but the Oilers built a double-digit lead and looked destined for an easy win with under 3 minutes to play.

Oilers fumble

However, when Saidi fouled out of the game, Blazers’ grit on the defensive end stepped up a notch and on the offensive end, Deng who had a poor game scored quickfire 10 points coupled with a pair of throws from Chris Omanye to tie the game at 66 with just under a minute to play.

Ruai hit the dagger forcing Namuwongo into a timeout and on return, Deng jacked up a 3-pointer that gifted Oilers a possession on which Jimmy Enabu was sent to the line, hitting the second throw for a 70-66 lead and Blazers took the last timeout.

After the time out, Blazers were chased off the 3-point line and Deng made a lay-up forcing Mandy Juruni to call his last time out. On return, Tony Drileba was sent to the line with a second on the clock and missed both shots but Blazer did not have enough time to take the last shot.

Azolibe finished with game-high 15 points and 8 rebounds to lead Oilers, James Okello contributed 14 points while Drileba had 10 points and team-high 11 rebounds.

Deng matched game-high 15 points (12 coming in the final three minutes), Saidi and Omanye contributed 13 points apiece and Ariel Okall scored 11 points to go with game-high 12 boards.

Game 4 of the series will be played on Wednesday.

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

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