In what seems like a straightforward shootout, the top two seeds in the regular season meet this evening when City Oilers take on Tiger Head Power in the first game of the best-of-seven finals series, writes Felix Eupal.
There is something in common about the coaches in the finals Power’s Bernes Ankunda and Mande Juruni may be diminutive figures but the pair has big basketball brains and daring hearts. Those are the two variables that will determine the 2014 champions.
For Power, the final is all about justifying their pre-season shopping spree while the Oilers are out to prove that last year’s triumph was not a one-off. Reminding one about how both teams fared in the regular season would be of little significance. Whatever happened before doesn’t matter. This is the finals.
Power has had one more day of rest after sealing a 3-2 series win over Warriors on Sunday evening. As for the Oilers, they did it the hard way clawing back a 0-2 deficit to eject UCU Canons 3-2 on Monday night. Juruni’s team, which has never lost a play-off series in their two seasons of existence, showed they have the intangibles needed for a final.
That is the unrelenting desire and a never-say-die spirit. Those attributes will come in handy if they are to stop a Power side that runs at opponents and depend on making easy lay-ups during transitions.
That style was effective during their back-to-back league triumphs in 2010 and 2011 but it will surely find its match against an Oilers team that possesses the best back court in the league.
In the decisive match against Canons, it was the back court that did most of the damage, with shooting guard Jimmy Enabu finishing with a game-high 22 points while Ben Komakech added another 17 as Geoffrey Omondi rounded off a great night with nine.
The trio shared seven three-pointers which ultimately sunk the Canons. That same back court still has Adam Kakuru, Daniel Juuko and Ronnie Kalule. The same can’t be said of Power, whose back court heavily relies on Abdullahi Ramathan, Joseph Ikong, and Norman Blick.
In the paint, the key battle will be between Oilers centre Kami Kabenge, the reigning MVP, and Phillip Amenyi. Kabenge drops shots on the post like no other player in the league, yet the same can’t be said of Amenyi.
He is unpredictable, looks unfit and rarely defends. Then there will be Michael Kojo who has his work cut off to stop Oilers’ James Okello. Okello has improved on his game, at times even taking on the anchor man role.
Men’s play-off finals:
Game one@YMCA grounds
City Oilers v Tiger Head Power
Ladies play-off finals
Game one@YMCA grounds
UCU Lady Canons v KCCA Leopards
Source : The Observer