Throughout the first round, Warriors was the only member of the top four teams that failed to cause an upset to any of the other three losing to Falcon, Dmark Power and UCU. The second round has brought a different luck.
After the league failed to start a week ago, Warriors then had the opportunity to once again play a championship contender at the start of a round after they lost the first round opener to Dmark Power.
Notably, one of the key questions was that could key players Ronnie Kasewu and Michael Karuiki keep their concentration on court?!. Ronnie lost his dad a few days ago and by game time, news had come in that Center Michael Karuiki had lost his sister. Against all odds, these athletes put up a splendid performance.
It was also all emotions among the capacity crowd at YMCA courts since it was the first game being played since the July 11th bombing in Kampala. For the fans, security was a key issue. You have to commend FUBA because the security checked out. There was enough manpower and security equipment to ensure the safety of the fans from any terror and everyone focused on the game.
Falcon started strong, even without starters Mike Bazangu and Bienvenne Ngandu who for unknown reasons only appeared at the beginning of the second half. In their absence, Sudi Mulunga and Richard Osana Omondi took charge. The two players are showing more than just skill but also leadership and maturity and it’s evident Falcon can count on them, the two players played the entire game, unrested. They were also mostly responsible for the 21-15 scoreboard in favor of Falcon at the end of the first quarter and the 39-34 scoreboard by halftime, still in Falcon’s favor.
The game never ran short of highlights, remarkably, Ramadhan Abdullahi’s unpredicted baseline dunk, which was soon over shadowed by a crossover on him by Sudi and moments later, a monster two handed dunk in traffic by Richard Omondi. And who can forget that block on Jude Ochieng by Omondi.
The Warriors were so disciplined in executing their plays and also showed great character coming from behind to win in 4th quarter after a 57-49 3rd quarter score in favor of Falcon.
Warriors took the much needed win in the last few seconds. Jude Ochieng had the opportunity to level the score at 62:62 with a three pointer, 5 minutes to play in the last quarter. Falcon would once again seem to break away. With under 40 seconds to play, Abdullahi Ramathan once again ties the game at 74:74 yet again with a long range three pointer , After two excellently shot free throws from Eric Malinga, Gad Eteu calls for a time out and his clipboard would produce the lay up fom Joshua Etalu for a 78:74 score in favor of Warriors, at the most crucial stage, Warriors had taken a lead for the first time in the game. Falcon pulled back one for a 78:76 score and it at this point with 4 seconds to play that Mike Bazangu is fouled to shoot for two. Now the game lay in Mike’s hands to tie the game for a possible overtime.
Only a few players cherish these moments but certainly not Mike Bazangu who has so far in the season only managed about 10% of all opportunities he has had at the charity line. Indeed he missed both shots.
The game ended in controversy. A foul was commited on a Falcon player but before referee Mandy Baker could award the two throws, he had to consult if the foul had happened after or before the buzzer and indeed it had happened after the final buzzer. And 78:76 it was, In favor of Warriors.
The celebrations for the Warriors fans was only comparable to the historic win over Dmark Power in final last season’s game four in which the warriors won the their inaugural title as a basketball club.