When Stephen Omony pulled the plug and walked out on Mountain Dew Falcons, it seemed for the first time that an individual could be bigger than an institution. Omony is a two-time MVP and his departure caused a mass exodus of ten players from the record champs.
But like the proverbial cat of nine lives Falcons founder John Simbwa just wasn’t ready to call in the cards yet. He went on a shopping spree, which has so far yielded ten foreign and three local players.
Many critics argued that despite his buys being highly billed, it would take them a lot of time to play as a unit because they were from different basketball backgrounds. As such the YMCA grounds were full on that chilly Sunday of April 18 as everyone came to catch a glimpse of the new recruits against St. Michael.
At the end of the match, only Karim Musi – the former APR skipper – fitted the billing as he dropped a game high 31 points, 21 of them coming from three pointers. The team had several lapses, something attributed to the fact that coach Michael Mureithi was still away in Nairobi.
But from the time he returned, Falcons played to the tune of their hype. They dismantled Knight Riders with ease but that didn’t stop a few Doubting Thomases to question their mentality. But like a true work of art that speaks for itself, Falcons silenced all doubters with a crushing defeat of last season’s surprise package Ndejje University Angels. The win confirmed their position not only as serious contenders but overwhelming favourites to win the league.
That said, Mureithi admits the team is yet to peak: “We need more games together because we still have to work on the line up combinations. Besides that, we have versatile players who are playing modern day basketball.”
His last statement just sums up why his team will be very hard to stop. In Mike Buzangu, Richard Omondi, Frederick Sinaridi and Peter Elungat, Falcons possess four players who can deliver in multiple positions and drop three pointers whenever the opportunity arises.
Then there is the gigantic Congolese Bienenue Ngandu; the mail man who picks up all the rebounds and ensures that no opponent goes up with no contest.
Peter Mubanda, the DMark Power Technical Director says: “They haven’t yet played any team of worth but make no mistake they are very good and if anyone is going to be a champion they will have to go through them”.
This Friday, Mureithi’s men take on a depleted KIU Titans whose coach Nimrod Kaboha will be more worried about replacing the departed forward Abhol Aleu, who crossed to the Mountain Dew side.