KAMPALA- Last year’s maiden appearance at the Africa Club Champions’ Cup whet City Oilers so much that they vowed to return to the pinnacle of continental basketball.
“To play here again, at least that should be the plan,” Jimmy Enabu said after last December’s ninth place finish in Cairo, Egypt.
The plan was indeed fulfilled on Saturday. Oilers won a second successive regional Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championship at a packed Lugogo Indoor Arena.
Oilers thumped Rwanda’s Patriots 86-59 to ensure that the four-time defending National Basketball League champions will again confront the continent’s best sides in Tunisia.
To deliver on the plan, Oilers made four additions to their roster.
A’Darius Pegues, Robinson Odoch and Stanley Ocitti weren’t new having played for Uganda at the Afrobasket.
Having witnessed the contribution of the trio, there was a school of thought that the fourth Jordin Mayes, was a bit of a luxury.
At the end of the week-long tournament, however, there was unanimous agreement that Mayes was the tournament MVP after he helped Oilers retain the zonal championship. The shooting guard scored 21 points. “I just wanted to come out and play my game. They brought me in as a scorer and I just wanted to do my job,” Mayes said after the final.
Like the group stage meeting between arguably the two best teams at the championship, and edged 77-73 by the Oilers, they made the stronger start, taking a 22-20 first quarter lead.
“We established that AD (A’Darius) down low was playing great tonight and it was a great team effort,” added Mayes.
Pegues then combined with Ocitti as the pair limited former Oilers Kami Kabange to four points and the Patriots never recovered despite point guard Aristide Mugabe’s 17 points.
“We are always checking ourselves to get better. This was a final so the mentality unlike the earlier game was different,” coach Mandy Juruni noted.
“We knew if we won this game we would qualify to the next level and it something we really wanted,” he added.
Robinson Odoch, Landry Ndikumana and Jimmy Enabu added 15, 12 and 10 points respectively as the Oilers and Mayes turned on the style.
Uganda’s other men’s side Betway Power finished fourth. Kenya Ports Authority retained the women’s title ahead of compatriots Equity and Ugandan sides UCU Lady Canons and KCCA Leopards.
FIBA AFRICA ZONE V CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
City Oilers 86-59 Patriots
MVP –Jordin Mayes (Oilers)
Top scorer - Jordin Mayes (Oilers)
Most rebounds- L Ndikumana (Oilers)
TOURNAMENT STARTING FIVE
Aristede Mugabe (Patriots)
Jordin Mayes (City Oilers)
Michael Makiadi (Power)
Kami Kabange (Patriots)
Stanley Ocittti (City Oilers)