By Ismail D. Kigongo (Daily Monitor)
It was a forgettable and painful opening day for Team Uganda at the ongoing Fiba Africa Zone V Nations Championship in Kigali, Rwanda yesterday.
The mens team ran out of steam in the final quarter to lose to Kenya 61-76 whereas the women recovered from a slow start but it was too late to hold off Burundi, who won 73-69.
Captain Stephen Omony (198-G/F-79) game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds failed to rescue Uganda, who had limited scoring options with five of the 12 not troubling the scorer. Having fallen behind in the first period 24-19, Uganda played with great intensity in defence when Boniface Okello was introduced to take the next 15-14 before Kenya nicked the third 17-16.
An expected photo-finish didnt materialize with the later cruising through the ultimate quarter 21-11. Norman Blick (201-F-83), Joseph Ikong (193), Ivan Enabu (182-G) and Ben Komakech didnt score at all in a combined 63 minutes on the floor. Forward Isaac Afidra (12) was the only other player to breach the 10-point barrier. Inconsistency really hurt us. I am confident we can bounce back if our guards come to the party, coach Gad Eteu said.
Though the Kenyans were slightly bigger, Uganda edged the board contest 43-42 but found no answers to experienced center Peter Kiganya (197-F-72, college: Abil.Christian) (25-13). Centre Robert Mubiru (196-F) thrilled in bits for his eight points and six rebounds. His understudies Brian Ssentogo (4-3) and Edwin Kateregga (5-2) need to step up. There was no respite for the women even though guard Maureen Amoding came off the bench to score a team-high 23 points.