City Oilers players celebrate winning their 8th championship after defeating Nam Blazers in the finals | Credit: John Batanudde
  • Nam Blazers 64-66 City Oilers (Oilers win series 4-3)

Never underestimate the heart of a champion. City Oilers are champions of the Tusker Lite National Basketball League for the eighth season running.

To achieve the feat, the Oilers edged Namuwongo Blazers 66-64 in Game 7 of the final in front of a hostile crowd on Friday night.

Blazers are the fifth different side that has fallen to the Oilers in their decade of dominance of topflight basketball since coming into the league in 2013. Falcons, Power (x3), UCU Canons (x2), and KIU Titans are the other teams that have felt the juggernaut.

On the night, Blazers looked like they would change the narrative as they had a strong start backed by a raucous crowd in Lugogo Indoor Stadium. The side led 10-2 early in the game but the Oilers never fell further behind as they came right back in the game and took the opening quarter 21-19.

The second quarter was back-and-forth but the Oilers took a 3-point (38-35) lead into locker rooms for the halftime break.

Namuwongo had a 7-1 run to start the third quarter and took the lead but it never lasted as Ivan Muhwezi and Francis Azolibe made quick responses. However, Blazers would close out the quarter leading by 7 points (55-48).

Blazers led by 5 points (61-56) midway through the fourth quarter and the optimism among their faithful was visible. They however went 0-for-15 the rest of the game as the champions peddled back and took control of the game and ultimately the series when it mattered most.

Azolibe finished with a game-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds while Tony Drileb, the only other Oiler to score in double figures, had 11 points and 9 boards.

Paul Odong who has played his best finals series all-round had team-high 16 points but missed a lay-up at the buzzer that could have taken the game to overtime. Chris Omanye (12) and David Deng (11) also scored in double digits for Blazers.

Cast of NBL Winners

  • 1996: Power
  • 1997: Charging Rhinos
  • 1998: Falcons
  • 1999: Falcons
  • 2000: Power
  • 2001: Sky Jammers
  • 2002: Falcons
  • 2003: Falcons
  • 2004: Falcons
  • 2005: Nkumba Marines
  • 2006: Nkumba Marines
  • 2007: Falcons
  • 2008: Power
  • 2009: Warriors
  • 2010: Power
  • 2011: Power
  • 2012: Warriors
  • 2013: City Oilers
  • 2014: City Oilers
  • 2015: City Oilers
  • 2016: City Oilers
  • 2017: City Oilers
  • 2018: City Oilers
  • 2019: City Oilers
  • 2020: Not Held
  • 2021: Season Not Completed
  • 2022: City Oilers

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

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