Date: Friday, May 19
Venue: Lugogo Indoor Stadium
Event: National Basketball League Opener
- Oilers vs. Power – 8pm
- UCU Lady Canons vs. A1 Challenge – 6pm
Defending champions City Oilers will start their title defense and chase for a fifth straight championship in a tricky tie with five time winners Power Friday night at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
The two sides shared spoils in the regular season last year with Mandy Juruni’s charges taking the first round game 86-57 before Power won the second round fixture 72-60.
Last season Power started the season with an impressive 5-0 run that had victories over rivals Warriors and KIU Titans.
Arnold Lando, Power’s head coach, is looking for yet another impressive start as the new season gets underway.
“We are very ready to compete and I believe the players are in the right shape for the league opener,” Lando told Kawowo Sports on Thursday.
To their roster, Power have added former UCU Canons and Our Savior guard Sunday Okot, former Warriors and KIU Titans guard Diego Angemi and Francis Kasinde who is making a U-turn having featured for Ndejje last season.
Kasinde, Okot and forward Sulaimani Bbale were unveiled to the media on Thursday morning as some of the team’s new signings.
Julius Wapera and Kibuli SS youngster Tyrone Martin, who led his school to the schools’ championship last week, are the other new faces set to feature for the second most successful team in the league.
The new signings join a cast of experienced players in Power’s quest for a first championship in five years.
For Oilers, who will be seeking to join Power on five championships, just one behind record winners Falcons, Steven Omony is the name to look forward to.
Two-time MVP Kami Kabange left the club for Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and Juruni believes it isn’t possible to replace the Rwandan.
But in his absence, Omony, Joseph Chuma and James Deng will wear the Oilers’ blue and help the side in the chase for a 5-peat.
Apart from Kabange, Oilers also lost the services of forward Andrew Opio and guard Adam Kakuru.
From Last season
Power have never defeated City Oilers in a playoff series but managed to win their second round game of the regular season last year.
Having been suffocated in the first round encounter, where only team captain Joseph Ikong scored in double figures (22), Power revenged in the second round.
A collective effort saw Ikong, Isaac Afidra, Michael Makiadi and Brian Odur score 16, 14, 12 and 10 points to defeat the zone V champions 70-62.
Power limited Kabange and Jimmy Enabu to 15 and 12 points respectively. The two had scored 21 and 15 in Oilers’ 86-57 win in the first round.