Power is determined to stretch City Oilers to the maximum when the two sides meet in game three of their best-of-seven basketball playoff final series tonight at the Lugogo indoor stadium, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.
Few really expected Power to make it to the 2016 play-off finals in the first place. In fact, when they failed to hold onto a 74-71 lead last Friday January 6 with 44 seconds left to play, and lost game one of the final to City Oilers 76-78, there was a justification for Power’s undeserved presence here.
However, when Power bounced back to win game two, the opinion has shifted, that not only can they nick a fifth league title, but also they are determined to make it hard for Oilers landing a fourth successive title.
As Power coach Arnold Lando said before the finals kicked off, that they had to be defensively sound, if they were to stand a chance against Oilers, Sunday’s showing was testament to that. While Power is known to be reckless, leaving themselves open at the back, as they rely on their running game to outscore opponents, this time Oilers attacked, they were found set-up.
This restricted Oilers’ usual match-winners. For example Jimmy Enabu only scored six points. Although Kami Kabangu scored a game high 16 points, he was not at his imposing best. For a point-guard as Ben Komakech to score 14 points was a good return considering that his number one role is to setup plays for teammates to prosper.
He only had one assist compared to six in game one. Komakech’s three-point threat was neutralized because of the hounding he faced from Power’s defensive unit. In seven attempts, he converted two. The whole Oilers team converted just three of 20 three point attempts. In game one, Oilers converted eight of 22 three point shots.
Furthermore, Oilers had 22 turnovers compared to Power’s 17. Turnovers are the scoring chances fluffed, that see the defending team gain possession of the ball. This points to two things: First, Power defended doggedly, especially if one considers the fact that coming into the finals, Oilers averaged 76 points a game.
Secondly, that Oilers just self-destructed, something their coach Mandy Juruni confessed. Actually his player Enabu was more explicit, saying that they are playing rubbish. The whole six bench players of Oilers only managed 13 points, which is a disgraceful statistic for a team known to have real quality.
Perhaps that will be music to the ears of Power: The consideration that once Oilers first five are stopped, the defending champions have no fall-back position, and are probably at par as Power, who literally have only eight players to call on.
Notably, Power may not have the lasting strength to win the championship, but Oilers may lose it to them. And that can happen if Power keep together as a unit, their guard Paul Odong said.
However, to beat the odds and push this to the wire, Power will have to be strong mentally. Their captain Joseph Ikong said they lost game one because they panicked. But if they keep their act together and play with belief, they can take a priceless 2-1 lead.