Many Betway Power fans hold the belief their team can end City Oilers’ five-year stronghold on the National Basketball League.
The 2011 champions defeated the Oilers in both regular season games last season before being swept 3-0 in the best of five semifinal playoff series by the Oilers who continued the trend of never having lost a playoff series.
But buoyed by last week’s shs200m sponsorship extension with online betting company Betway, coupled with seven new additions, the fans were back to the Lugogo MTN Arena on Saturday for the season-opening night.Many of them, in support of Power, left with renewed belief as Power recorded a 64-56 victory.
The result capped a stimulating opening night to the 2018 season that also saw KIU Titans thrash KCCA and Sharing Youth record a 72-66 overtime win over Our Saviour.
“In the playoffs many teams tend to face the Oilers with stage fright,” Power coach Arnold Lando noted of the difference between regular season results and in the playoffs.
His team showed no fear particularly in the third quarter overturning a 35-29 first half deficit to win the next quarter 14-10.
Unscathed by previous Oilers beatings, new recruits Stephen Wundi and Brian Sivachi, instigated the turnaround with the former scoring four of his joint game high 15 points to open the third quarter.
Joseph Ikong then added 13 and Fahmy Sebatindira 12 as Power pulled away in the final four minutes.
“You could see we haven’t competed in a long time. Basically players are playing below average.
“City Oilers haven’t won our first game in like five times out of six. We really wanted to cut that out but Power wanted it more and played with more effort in the final minutes,” City Oilers coach Mandy Juruni said after the game.
James Okello led the scoring with 15 points while Stephen Omony added 11 for the City Oilers who are chasing a record-equaling sixth league title.
Javon 50-72 Nkumba
UMU Ravens 27-85 JKL Lady Dolphins
Charging Rhino 62-57 JKL Dolphins
KCCA Men 55-82 KIU Titans
Our Saviour 66-72 Sharing Youth
Betway Power 64-56 City Oilers