How ‘hunger’ led OBB to the volleyball title

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OBB played the National Volleyball League Finals as they have at this stage for years. However, this is only their first season in the top flight.

They made light work of Nemostars to win the series 2-1 and lift the trophy on Sunday night at Old Kampala Arena.

After losing the first game of the three-game final series, the Iganga-based team used the seven days between the first two games to make adjustments.

“We realized the mistakes we made in the first game and got back to work,” head coach Lawrence Yakan OBB told the Daily Monitor.

OBB was the better team throughout the series and only lost the opener after lifting the pedal in the fourth set.

But throughout the series OBB has served well and it has seen Nemostars struggle to get a good first pass to the setter to aid their attack. The men in orange also blocked and defended well in the backcourt to ensure Nemostars worked for all their points.

Nemostars may have had the experience but OBB showed more hunger.

“The boys wanted it and you could see the work on the pitch,” Yakan said.

With every face on the team chasing a first league title, the fighting spirit showed how badly they wanted it.

Libero Sharif Nabanji went down for every ball as the fielders tried to block whatever Nemostars threw at them.

“We had to win it and everyone had to dig deep for it,” Ivan Ongom told this newspaper.

Already in the regular season, Yakan and Ongom revealed that the team has what it takes to fight for the league title. There were still doubts from the volleyball fraternity, heightened by OBB’s 3-0 loss to Sport-S in the first round.

The doubts, however, started to fade when OBB came back from a set to defeat Nemostars 3-1 in the first round.

They then beat Sport-S 2-0 in the semi-finals and now have the league title in their hands.

Yakan revealed: “When I saw the players at the start of the season, I saw potential. I realized that I just had to give them more time, improve some of them and improve most of them. they have now resumed.

No one would have paid much attention to OBB’s loss to Nemostars in the final. The six-time champions had a roster that included four Volleyball Cranes starters and were considered the favorites.

Nemostars had won the last four league titles while OBB wanted their first.

“It’s history. For a team to come from Serie B and immediately become Serie A champions, it’s incredible.

“For me, it’s the first time I’ve won the championship as a coach. It’s really great.

The Nemostars have been bad throughout the series and will agree that the better team won the series. Even when their reception stabilized, offense remained a big problem for the six-time champions.

Muothic Salva Marial’s high block cut off Bernard Malinga’s attack while George Aporu failed to reach the heights he had in previous seasons.

Jonathan Tumukunde, again, failed to live up to the big stage.

The other failed to play against Nemostars in the 2017 finals while featuring for UCU Doves and nerves got the better of him again.

Barnabas Tugume was the first to fail the big test and was replaced in the lineup by Tom Amou, who then played the rest of the series.

Even the passing of passers from Smith Okumu to Moses Odeke couldn’t work. The Nemostars just weren’t good enough and in OBB they faced a team playing like their lives depended on every point.

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