The final at the UCU invitational tourney held at the Mukono University campus was an exciting one . The final was between hosts UCU and Ndejje University Angels with the hosts coming out winners with a 74:63 score board. UCU have now underlined their intentions to battle for the league title after managing only the 3rd place last year. Among their ranks now is, Sudi Ulanga (also voted tournament's MVP) the former Falcon pointguard, Martin Okwako formerly of Warriors and for say, the tournament’s revelation is UCU’s signing of Kenyan National team feature of Center Desmond Owillu. Owillu is a huge destructive force both offensively and defensively. The Enabu brothers Ivan and Jimmy were electrifying on the night with trademark pace, shooting and assists amidst crazing UCU home fans.

UCU has a lot of players at its disposal and the young coach, also 2010’s most promising coach Nicholas is getting even better. In fact, it has been revealed that Robert Mugabe the former UCU playmaker and Sam Lukaire will settle for playing with the UCU JV which is the Div II outfit for the university. It is amazing how fast this team has achieved chemistry and the versatility in the squad were evident.

UCU narrowly defeated Miracle 53:51 in the semi final. Miracle was definitely another team to look out for ahead of the tournament but unfortunately, the vast number of injuries in the squad prevented us from witnessing their full potential. Currently, playmaker, Stephen Omony is out with a knee injury and is likely to stay out for over a month. The legendary player was not totally out of action though has he stood in as coach. Miracle are currently without coach after Brian Rugyendo’s resignation last year. Richard Omondi Osanoh will also be out for approximately 4 weeks after suffering a wrist injury on day one of the tourney. Edwin Katerega was equally out of the tournament after suffering a torn tendon during the recently concluded MUK Open. Also injured is Collin Mukiza and Albert Aciko.

In the absence of the players, new signing Peter Elungat was a force to recognize. For Miracle, the tourney helped the much younger players , the likes of Caesar Kizito, Douglas Uwizera, Bajjunga Ronald , Yahya Kalyesubula and veteran Chris Kyebanzi to take the center stage. Brian Sentongo put up a no-show despite confirmation that the center is still under contract at Eagles. Sentongo has been linked to a move to Ndejje.

The revelation for Ndejje was their signing from Falcon, Emmanuel Ateng who was also named the tourney’s regular MVP. Also known as Etti, he took the center stage last year during the playoffs but the young shooting guard is not turning back and is stepping up his act. The other force in Ndejje will be point guard Daniel Muli. Standing under 6 feet, the guard is a good shooter, has good vision for a passer and also has quick feet. Obedi Walker’s Ndejje can still count on their hard fighting spirit and teamwork to continue their stay in Ugandan top flight basketball.

KIU has had a few new faces. With the departure of center Farouq to returnees Charging Rhinos, Joshua Etalu from Warriors is the replacement and playmaker Olobo Moses will still be available for Coach Nimrod Kaboha.

Charging Rhinos and MUK Heaters had a simulation of the renewed DIV I taste both teams making it as far as the quarters in the tournament. Charging Rhinos have signed Michael Kojo, the former Dmark Power forward and centers Farouq from KIU and Akitah Herbert from the defunct KCC Lions. The Rhinos notably defeated runners up Ndejje in the opening round but they were exited by KIU 50:34 in the quarter finals. Similarly, Heaters were exited by Miracle 73:63 at the same stage.

Warriors, Falcon and league champs Power did not participate despite their invitations. Information about these three Ugandan basketball giants has merely been speculative. The most elusive though is Falcon, Apparently, their players are featuring for other teams and there exists no evidence of their recruitment. When I reached, Sam Obol, arguably the most reliable source now on Falcon, he hinted that Falcon will always be a competing power in Ugandan basketball top league has as always been, he argued me and you to “watch the space”. Hopefully , Falcon can never run out of surprises!!

Dmark Power also still has some shortcomings , with claims of several players’ contracts not renewed. Notably, reigning MVP Ben Koma, Norman Blick, Joseph Ikong , Donald Blick are all free agents. Several of these players are linked with moves to Warriors.

Information about Warriors’ preps for the new season are also not so coming but what we know is that Martin Okwako will not feature for them, Joshua Etalu is at KIU and Abdullahi Ramadhani’s return to Kampala is so very doubted. Also, Coach Gad Eteu is still under new contract negotiations at Warriors and we can not confirm his status now.

In related events, the UCU Lady Canons emerged the winners in the ladies category with a win over KCC Leopards in the finals, 44:37. and The reigning league MVP Maureen Amonding was once again named the tourney's MVP.

The Best 5's

PG: Angella Namirimu (UCU)
SG: Amoding Maureen (UCU)
SF: Etyang Mercy (KIU)
PF: Diana Nakanjako (Lady Bucks)
C: Odhiambo Purity (UCU)
PG: Jeff Omondi (UCU)
SG: Sudi Ulanga (UCU)
SF: Ateng Emma (Ndejje)
PF: Peter Elungat (Miracle)
C: Wati Brian (KIU)
Article By Cucu .E .Brian