Tiger Head Power have 40 minutes to salvage their faint hopes of winning the national basketball title. On the other hand, City Oilers are aiming to become the first team to sweep the finals as they search for a second successive title, writes Felix Eupal.
Oilers are on a six-game winning run that dates back from the semis and lead the best-of-seven finals 3-0. In otherwords, the champagne is on ice and the ‘Champions T-Shirts’ have already been made.
Besides, no team has ever clawed back such a deficit to win the title. So dominant they have been in the finals that even if Power wins tonight, that would be a mere consolation of sorts to delay the inevitable.
Indeed, the Oilers have won the last nine meetings between the two teams including last season’s play-off semis, the two league encounters this season as well as their grudge match at the 2014 Zone V Club Championship in Mombasa. This is a damning indictment on Power, who have a tendency to freeze against the organized Oilers.
Whether it is fear or stage fright holding them back, Power needs to surmount the spirit of 2010 and 2011 when they won back-to-back national titles.
Even the fans would be disappointed if Power is swept aside without a fight. Supporters always want a nail-biting cliffhanger.
Statistically, it is hard to see Power mounting a comeback after being out-rebounded throughout the the series. They have been terrible on the free-throw line and have lacked the desire and focus during crucial moments.
However, Power patron Patrick Omera remains defiant: “They [Oilers] are not different from us. In fact, we have a better team and all we need is one win for my boys to believe. I promise we can stretch it to game seven.”
Stretching it is one thing but what matters most is who takes the title. Already, there is a growing feeling that this Oilers team will rule Ugandan basketball for years to come.
Source : The Observer