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9 teams fight for play-off slots in basketball league

When Warriors beat four-time defending champions, City Oilers 57-54 in their second round match of  the national baseketball league on Tuesday night, they cemented their place as the number one seed in the regular season.

With only two league losses to their name and 18 wins, two games left before the play-offs, the Warriors’ lead is unassailable.

However, the other positions are yet to be decided. Oilers, who have suffered five losses in 17 games, played JKL Dolphins last night. They are involved in a tight race with the likes of KIU Titans, UCU Canons and Power for second or third place to get a favourable quarterfinal draw.

Oilers coach Mandy Juruni said: “We know that to be the best, you have to beat the best. We are ready for anyone.”

Juruni says they will still be the team to beat. But Warriors coach Ronnie Mutebi also believes in his charges: “Finishing top shows how strong-willed we are as a team. We think this is our year.” Warriors’ last championship success was in 2012.

And he is looking forward to the possibility of facing either Sharing Youth, JKL Dolphins or Our Saviour, who are right at the threshold of the top eight teams, that make the play-offs. The aforementioned are deemed lighter opposition, the kind Warriors should easily defeat.

On the other hand, if Oilers finish second, they could face Sharing, JKL or Our Saviour. Yet, if they finish third, there will be a big possibility of facing the tough Ndejje University Angels. Ndejje can be unpredictable battering rams. And by the time one is done with them, they could be heavily battered and exhausted.

But Ndejje coach Walter Obedi is not as confident as he was a month ago. Two of his key players are on crutches, and they do not come any bigger than small forward David Okello. In a way, this has de-spirited Ndejje, although they will go down fighting.

BASKETBALL LEAGUE

Tonight@8pm:
Power v KIU
Saturday@1pm:
Lioness v Rangers
Saturday@3pm:
Oilers v Sharing
Saturday@5pm:
JKL v Power
Saturday@7pm:
Our Saviour v Warriors

Sunday@9am:
KIU v KCCA
Sunday@11am:
Stormers v Nkumba
Sunday@3pm:
Ndejje v UPDF
Sunday@5pm:
Warriors v Dolphins
Sunday@7pm:
Oilers v Canons

jovi@observer.ug

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