Canons win UCU Open to send signal

Sports history is written in all kinds of connotations and superstitions. UCU Canons would want to believe there is something special about their own tournament. Just 12 months ago, City Oilers used it to send a loud whisper to the basketball fraternity that they were indeed contenders and not just ‘pretenders.’ They left Mukono as champions of the third UCU Open and went on to lift their first National Basketball League title on the first attempt.

If history were to repeat itself, then UCU will be the beneficiaries to a first national title as they won the two-day invitational tournament on Sunday. Sudi Ulanga poured in 23 points to defeat Oilers 77-65 in the final with a partisan crowd cheering the hosts.

He defied Ben Komakech, signed by Oilers from Power, whose five three-pointers had threatened to steal the crown. That was only to confirm what Ulanga, a shooting guard, had accomplished over the two days.

The Tanzanian also finished as tournament top scorer with 80 points and was deservedly awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza got a head start in the competition that attracted 15 teams and had his reserve centre Ivan Rumanyika dominate the boards.

Also, the rumour about 7ft 1in centre Sam Gombya joining KIU Titans was confirmed as he turned out for them, leading to a third-place finish with a 56-38 victory over Ndejje. He and Bol Akol will surely be a force to reckon with on the inside for KIU. By UCU adding the women’s title to the men’s, it’s a public secret that Lady Canons will be the favourites when the league tips off next month.

While the Friday Night Lights remains a welcome distraction, UCU Canons, who have never reached the league final would love to borrow the symmetry of Ugandan motorsport. The winner of the season opener in Mbarara has gone on to win the National Rally Championship (NRC) in five of the last six years.


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