The FUBA national basketball league defending Champions, City Oilers beat arch rivals, KIU Titans 51-79 at the league kick off to show how much they are in for the ninth to a straight ninth league title.
The Oilers demolished KIU in every facet of the game to win comfortably by 28 points, much to the disappointment of the sizable crowd that welcomed the return of the National Basketball League.
The Oilers barely went through their gears but proved too good for KIU to handle on Sunday at the Lugogo Indoor Arena.
And the much anticipated tie was all but over just after eight minutes when the Oilers led 21-4.
KIU Titans, who were bossing with a couple of new signings including the trio of Amisi Saidi, Peter Obleng and Collins Kasujja who last season sent Oilers to game seven while at Nam Blazers, proved no match.
Mande Juruni’s charges on the other hand, unveiled their new guns on the night, including South Sudan’s Michael Ngut who scored 12 of his 15 points in the opening quarter.
Titus Lual and Fayed Baale, joining after graduating at UCU, scored 20 and 11 points in that order, with the former adding 14 rebounds to finish with a double double.
Stanley Mugerwa and Saidi ‘Carmelo’ Amisi had 18 and 11 points respectively, the only Titans to reach double figures.
Last season against Nam Blazers was the closest Oilers almost their invincibility.
And we are talking about a side that has only once lost a final, and that was back in Division Two, against Bushcourt.
Since their arrival in NBL, they have never been at the losing end of the playoffs series, and that speaks volumes about their dominance.
It can be understandable if everyone, besides their fans, want them to lose, and it was not different on Sunday. But all hopes were washed away few minutes after tip-off.
They have majorly lost Francis Azolibe from the team that won last year’s championship, but the new additions are bigger and better.
And the manner in which they eased past KIU, sends utter shock-waves across the division.
Ngut has the size of a Centre but his moves for an elite guard. And he showcased a couple of his skill sets when he scored from everywhere across the court.
Titus Lual Odeke and Fayed Bbale seamlessly fit into the side earlier, having played with the team at the BAL qualifiers.
Edrine Walujjo, from UPDF Tomahawks, had some good moments, and the same can be said of Henry Mulira who is back from the States.
Luak Ruai returned from a stint in Russia and was equally brilliant while the usual faces Jimmy Enabu and James Okello among others are still the rock and foundation.
Allawi Ssenkubuge, joining from Buddo SS, is one for the future. Tonny Drilleba watched the game from bench due to a reported injury.
It might be too early to call, especially with UCU Canons and Nam Blazers yet to step on the court, but this Oilers side is a bloody beast if they decide to flip the switch.
Meanwhile; KIU Titans will take all the criticism, which is very much founded after a poor show to say the least.
They this season carry the division’s hope and burden to unsettle the dominance of Oilers after marquee signings, and Club President Nasser Sserunjogi who also doubles as the FUBA president was left reeling.
And it might prove easier for Oilers who swept this KIU in the finals series about three seasons back.
There was less to admire from the Titans on Sunday, and the game revealed more work to coaches Julius Lutwama and Raymond Muhumuza.
They missed all their three-points attempts (0-for-24) on a night they will want to forget easily.
The team struggled to advance the ball across the court and failed to press when it mattered.
KIU can pick little positives from the contest, besides limiting their turnovers and also marching Oilers on the boards.
It’s very early in the season, and they can hope for better days ahead as they seek to grow and improve as the season grows. But the earlier they get things right, the better.
Players and Points
KIU Titans – Innocent Ochera (2), Edgar Munaaba (2), Joseph Chuma (4), Saidi Amisi (11), Collins Kasujja (0), Peter Obleng (8), Ahmed Kassa (2), Henry Okoth (2), Stanley Mugerwa (18), Brian Opiyo (2)
City Oilers – Ivan Muhwezi (6), Titus Lual (20), Michael Ngut (15), James Okello (9), Fayed Baale (11), Jimmy Enabu (3), Ben Komakech (0), Luak Ruai (9), Henry Mulira (0), Edrine Walujo (0), Ceaser Kizito (0)
National Basketball League
Sunday 19 March results
Magic Stormers 64-56 Miracle Eaglets
Lady Canons 51-67 JKL
Power 83-81 RezLife
Ndejje 71-69 KCCA
KIU Titans 51-79 City Oilers