KIU Titans will hope to complete the double on rivals UCU Canons, when they meet tonight in the National Basketball League at the MTN Indoor arena, Lugogo.
Titans won the first round clash 55-43. However, the game should be an interesting encounter for two point-guards, UCU’s Joas Maheta and Titans’ Michael Bwanga, sizing up against each other.
Bwanga edged out Maheta in the first round with 13 points against six. Now they will be at it again. Bwanga is one of a few league debutants, that are having a stellar season. He has been the campus on which KIU’s game has been run.
In football terms, he could be referred to as the play-maker. And without doubt, his ball handling during transition, and ultimate final pass, are what KIU has relied on diligently. KIU coach, Hamza Nyambogo, said Bwanga is undoubtedly talented.
And at times, he has been remarkable for KIU, who have largely been in a rebuilding phase this season. Yet, that does not stop Nyambogo from saying that the DR Congo national has got to be more consistent, because that is what separates stars from average players.
For example, last month, Bwanga put Warriors to the sword, when his 19 points inspired KIU to an 80-69 win. Yet, in KIU’s subsequent game against Ndejje University, Bwanga scored six points in a 65-68 loss. Bwanga just did not show up.
Yet, according to Warriors’ coach Ronnie Mutebi, he feels Bwanga can be a class act in all aspects of the game, even beyond just the good shooting, passing and dribbling.
Just by getting Warriors’ point-guard Syrus Kiviiri into foul trouble with three fouls early in the first quarter, Bwanga showed ingenuity. Warriors lost direction and a key scoring threat because of Bwanga.
UCU’s captain Jonathan Egau noted that they must guard against the threat of Bwanga.
“He gets KIU going. But also our Maheta will be important in this contest especially because he is our main point-guard,” Egau said.
That is small, considering all the problems UCU has. Their coach Nich Natuhereza travelled for further studies recently, and only returns in January 2018. That has turned UCU into some disorganized lot, including losing to relegation-bound Falcons 68-75 in the league last Sunday.
While UCU lost only twice in 11 first-round games, they have lost two of their four second-round games.
“We cannot afford to lose again, if we are to finish in a good play-off position,” Egau stated. KIU are second on the log with six games to play, while UCU are fifth with seven to play.