KAMPALA. City Oilers on Wednesday clinched an unprecedented sixth successive National Basketball League crown following an 81-73 win over Betway Power.
The result sealed a 4-1 triumph in the best of seven Tusker Lite-sponsored series and equaled Falcons haul of six championships.
The feat was achieved with what is considered by many to be the Oilers’ weakest team of the six that have won these championships.
“The first one was the most enjoyable but I think this was the hardest because the semifinal. KIU was probably one of the best teams we have faced since we joined NBL.
“And considering that the team has continued becoming smaller in size and in number it becomes harder to rely on people night in night out,” an elated Oilers captain Jimmy Enabu said afterwards.
“Despite their athleticism I thought we had an edge. I thought we run the floor better. We have more poise, we take advantage of the moment and know what to do in particular moments,” he supplemented.
The Oilers composure again proved decisive as Power who played an aggressive game led for large periods and 67-59 with just over six minutes left. But the Oilers used a 22-6 run in the final six minutes to overturn the result.
“I told them the reality, that we did not play the best game and the game was just six, eight points. Something that was within reach,” Oilers coach Mandy Juruni noted.
“We also changed our defense from man-to-man to a 3-2 zone just to change Power’s game because all the time they were driving to the basket. They were so quick. When we played the zone they slowed down and had to make a couple passes and that didn’t work in their favour. That’s how we managed to win,” he added.
Enabu then flourished, scoring 11 of his team high 18 points in that sequence to build on Josh Johnson’s 17 and James Okello’s 16 - the two other players who should also be in the running for the MVP award.
“We have been consistent over the years and we always challenge ourselves to get better. When we win a championship we review what we did and didn’t do well. What we need to fix and where we need recruit and we come back better,” Enabu said.
The message could well apply to Power who stay on five titles and have now failed in three attempts in 2014, 2016 and 2018 to dethrone the Oilers. “We lacked the composure in the final two minutes to close out the game,” Paul Odong offered.
The guard who has been one of Power’s better players in the series scored a team high 13 points while Stephen Wundi and the now maligned Isaac Afidra added 11 apiece for Power.
Fuba NBL winners
2018 - City Oilers
2017 - City Oilers
2016 - City Oilers
2015 - City Oilers
2014 -City Oilers
2013 - City Oilers
2012 - Warriors
2011 - Power
2010 - Power
2009 - Warriors
2008 - Power
2007 - Falcons
2006 - Nkumba
2005 - Nkumba
2004 - Falcons
2003 - Falcons
2002 - Falcons
2001 - S. Jammers
2000 - Power
1999 - Falcons
1998 - Falcons
1997 - Rhino
1996 - Power
1995 - Blue Jackets