Basketball

The Oilers’ seventh and how it happened

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On Sunday evening, City Oilers humbled UCU Canons 72-57 in game 7 of the 2019 FUBA NBL championship to claim a seventh title in 7 years.

But how did they make it to the 7th title in seven years after being forced into the final game of the NBL’s 7-game final?

Mandy Jiruni’s side started their league campaign with a slight 69-66 win against Betway Powers and went on 4 game winning run until they lost their first league game against UCU Canons in May 2019.

May was the worst month in the Oilers 2019 calendar as they lost 3 games out of the 6 played in that month. They lost to UCU Canons ( 90-82), Pemba Warriors (68-66) and JKL Dolphins ( 67-66) before winning against Sharing youths (89-54), Ndejje Angels (85-50) and Our Saviours (80-52) to wrap up the May fixtures.

The 6-time defending champions then went on a 15 game unbeaten run to the death of the regular season winning against all the top flight NBL teams in that period, finishing as second seed behind only Nick Natuhereza’s Canons.

In the quarterfinals, the Oilers were pitted against Ndejje Angels, a fixture they narrowly won 2-1 in best of three quarter finals series to progress to the semifinals.

In the semis, City Oilers came against Pemba Warriors (one of the sides they lost to in regular season) but the 6times defending champions were too much for the Warriors as they won the semifinals series in game 4 to progress to their 7th FUBA NBL final in a row and set up a showpiece against the regular season’s top seed UCU Canons.

Without Francis Azolibe Chijioke and Steven Omony, the Oilers had only 9 players fit for the final and faced an uphill task to defend the title they won for the last 6 consecutive seasons.

Oilers lost game one 67-57 to UCU Canons before Ndikumana Landry and James Okello ignited in game two to level the series 1-1 before game 3.

Oilers’ Ndikumana further spured 29 points in game 3 to give his side a deserved 2-1 lead in the best of seven finals series.

The finals then went into a presumable break to allow City Oilers prepare for the Basketball Africa League qualifying tournament in Kigali, Rwanda. City Oilers finished fourth behind Patriots, Ferroviaria de Maputo and GNBC to miss out on a change of playing in the 2020 BAL tourney.

The league resumed in January, 2020 with the game 4 of the series and the Oilers zeal for the seventh title was evident as they comfortably won game 4 63-57 at the Lugogo indoor arena.

UCU Canons on the verge of elimination in game 5, produced sublime performances in the next 2 games of the series through Chuma Fadhili, David Kongor Deng and Baale Fayed to level the series 3-3 after game 6 and set up a winner-takes all Game 7 on the Sunday.

In game 7, the experience and team play of the Oilers team fought off a young UCU Canons side to record a 72-57 victory on the night and Consequently take their 7th consecutive NBL title


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