UGANDA : Falcons, A-1 Challenge fall

by Sande Bashaija

Saturday results
MBC Rocks 80-66 Bushcourt
Berkley 85-54 Heaters
Ndejje 75-71 UCU Canons
Marines 90-77 Riders
Falcons 45-59 KIU
KCC Leopards 72-57 A-1

To win a championship, you always have to beat the best. The MTN-Fuba League season is not ending pretty soon but 2007 women champions Kampala City Council (KCC) Leopards made their intentions of recapturing the title clear by outclassing A-1 Challenge 72-57 on Saturday night.

A-1 Challenge brought a 14-match unbeaten run into the clash against Leopards at YMCA but couldn’t go one better. No doubt both teams are good and are likely to face-off in this season’s final, but KCC Leopards had a point to prove. They lost the corresponding first round fixture 66-68 to A-1 Challenge and badly needed victory to regain confidence.

At the start A-1 Challenge looked the better side, winning the first quarter 19-8 but the Leopards nipped the second session 21-16. Becky Akullo, who has shown indifferent form lately made much of the difference for KCC’s cause with a game high 30 points.

That was aided by A-1 Challenge’s abysmal third quarter show in which they were drubbed 24-8 and went on to lose the last 19-14. Mariam Birungi (17 points) and Miriam Hamala (8) came good for KCC.
Maggie Nalubega and Rosette Meya grabbed eight points apiece for A-1 Challenge.

In the men’s contest, without injured Henry Malinga and Shs72m signing Stephen Omony, Falcons were taken to the cleaners by Kampala International University (KIU). Just after five minutes, Falcons were trailing the university side 9-21 and were glad to go into recess 39-22 down.

Peter Elungat (13 points) and Sam Obol (9) tried to keep Falcons into the game but all their efforts were about damage limitation. At the end of third quarter, KIU were leading 53-30 and they must scold themselves for failing to register a massive win against the depleted Falcons.

Micheal Karuiki dominated the paint with 23 points, helping KIU to seize fourth position on the 10-team table. Falcons suffered their fourth loss of the season.