Written by Felix Eupal
Sunday, 24 October 2010 15:27
The 2010 basketball playoffs start on October 29 at the all new Lugogo indoor stadium, FELIX EUPAL previews the four intriguing matchups for the men’s and women’s title.
Dmark Power versus Mountain Dew Falcons
Power beat Falcons in their two regular season encounters; 76-74 in the first round before the lopsided 80-61 win in the second round. Granted, Falcons had the best defensive record in the regular season conceding only 996 points compared to Power’s 1250. Given that defences have the biggest say in recent championships; Falcons have a real chance of beating the regular season best team.
However, Falcons have to first put the players in the right frame of mind following a recent sit down over unpaid wages. As a result, Richard Omondi, Mike Buzangu and Bienvenue Ngandu returned to Kenya awaiting management to pay up. Michael Mureith the Falcons coach told The Observer, “I will work with the players around but it won’t be easy getting them all prepared.”
Prediction: Power 3-2
UCU Canons versus Warriors
The Canons were the surprise team of the season; stunning opponents with their ‘never-say-die attitude.’ Having achieved their pre-season target of making the playoffs doesn’t mean that they are going to get the foot off the gas pedal. They took Warriors to school on both occasions in the regular season but the stakes are different now.
Despite enduring a forgettable regular season, in which they lost five times and were on the brink of missing out on the playoffs, the defending champions are competitive and have the league’s most dangerous offence.
In a match-up of Warriors’ experience versus UCU’s athleticism, Warriors coach Gad Eteu believes character will be determinant and his boys have shown that.
Prediction: Warriors 3-1
UCU Lady Canons versus KIU Rangers
This ladies showdown bears the impression of a mismatch. Rangers have made the playoffs in the last four years but with nothing to show for. Their scoring machine Suzan Amito has struggled for form all season yet they face the most lethal team in the women’s division. Indeed, the Lady Canons have everything a champion needs, speed, versatility, talent, mobility, character and discipline.
Three time league top scorer Francis Nabulobi has recovered from that ankle injury and is ready to do what she does best while Zone V women’s MVP Anastasia Njeri continues to be the opposition’s worst nightmare.
Prediction: Lady Canon 3-0
A1 Challenge Vs KCC
KCC might be the defending champions but the three losses in the regular season paint a picture of a team on the wane. Their coach Timothy Odeke needs no introduction when it comes to grudge games and this time round he hopes to rely on the size advantage of his girls to get the cat in the bag.
In Annet Nakiwu, Carol Nyafondo, Miriam Hamala and Martha Soigi, the Leopards are assured of the rebounds and blocks. A1 Challenge on the other hand find themselves on hard times. Skipper Mavita Ali has a nagging knee injury while Olivia Mulwana and Elizabeth Kizza Bazira have since become a spent force following maternity break. Their coach Hamza Nyambogo often looks clueless when his team is trailing yet Vicky Nassolo and Hatima Kassim can’t do it on their own.
Prediction: KCC 3-2