Coach Balonzi hails Ulinzi spirit in dramatic USIU win


Fidel Okoth (L) of Blades contest for ball with Victor Bosire of KPA challenge during ...
Fidel Okoth (L) of Blades contest for ball with Victor Bosire of KPA challenge during their Basketball Premier League best-of-five finals play-offs series at Africa Nazarene University on February 18, 2018. KPA won 68-37. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • Ulinzi coach William Balozi hailed his side for their resolute performance as they edged USIU 50-47 in a nerve-wracking Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) encounter on Saturday.
  • Enjoying home court advantage, USIU raced to a 21-13 lead in the first quarter but the soldiers rallied to overturn the deficit in the second, third and fourth quarters and clinch a dramatic win.

Ulinzi coach William Balozi hailed his side for their resolute performance as they edged USIU 50-47 in a nerve-wracking Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) encounter on Saturday.

Enjoying home court advantage, USIU raced to a 21-13 lead in the first quarter but the soldiers rallied to overturn the deficit in the second, third and fourth quarters and clinch a dramatic win.

USIU’s shooting guard Olang Joshua drained a pair of three pointers in the first quarter of the game which left their home crowd in cheers and jeers but the Ulinzi team soldiered on into the second quarter closing the gap with a 19-8 win.

The Tigers came back strong in the third quarter quarter outscoring the Warriors 13-7 but Ulinzis’ thirst for points grew stronger in the fourth quarter winning 11-5 which saw a dramatic finishing as both teams were at per-47-47 within the last five seconds of the game.

It was Ulinzi Warriors’ William Ochieng who carried the day for the soldiers as he scored a lay-up with a free shot to break the tying score and deliver the 50-47 victory to his side.

Speaking to citizen digital, Ulinzi coach William Balozi admitted that the game was difficult especially for them as their opponents had home court advantage but however he thanked his boys for their impressive display of performance to win the game.

“The boys played well and am grateful especially in the dying minutes of the game, they implemented what I told them during the last time out and they were able to score through the same set piece as instructed. We are also thankful for our opponents and the league games in general as they provide adequate competition in preparation for the FIBA zone 5 tournament that’s going to take place in Congo ,Brazzaville that we will be participating alongside other African teams.” He added.

In other matches, Thunder were able to bounce back from their loss against Umoja last weekend by edging out Trailblazers 69-52 in a closely contested match.

Speaking to citizen digital, Coach Abel Nson of Thunders was happy for his side having won this weekend’s game as they put in more effort in their training and plays.

“I am positive moving forward that we are back to our winning ways, the boys followed and implemented each instruction given and also, they did well compared to their last match against Umoja where they were sloppy and resulted to their loss.

Speaking to citizen digital Billy Mukhongo of Trailblazers admitted that their team suffered huge defensive breakdowns which saw their opponents capitalize on each of them to extend their lead making it impossible for them to catch up.

“We have however learnt from our mistakes and we are hoping to improve going on forward. The fixtures on our side are a bit tight coming off playing two matches last weekend and also playing two matches this weekend has made us suffer from fatigue but we hope rotating the bench and the switch of players will help us improve on our form and grab a win. “He added.

In the women’s matches, KU Oryx struggled to beat newcomers Footprints 49-46 in a hotly contested match which saw the game run into extra period after a 45- all draw in regulation time.

KU Oryx led 23-13 in the first quarter and lost 3-6 in the second quarter .However Footprints bounced back in the second half led by their new veteran signing Eve Chebet to beat the Oryx 26-19 ending the game in a 45-all draw in regulation time but Rachael Wandaro crushed Footprints hopes of winning the game by scoring the last 4 winning points of the game.

Speaking to citizen digital, Coach Juma Kent of Footprints thanked her girls for stepping up to the occasion and putting up a spirited fight bearing in mind that this was their first time playing in the Premier League after being promoted from the division one recently. He also lamented the manner in which top teams in the league poached players from other younger teams saying it was good for the players but bad for the team since the trend tends to kill young upcoming talent.

“I am proud of the girls, they did an amazing job especially them being a young team playing their opponents who have been in the Premier league for a number of years. All am hoping for is to remain in the competition and not have to undergo relegation as we are a young team and still getting a feel of the Premier League .Having lost most of my main starting players, it’s a challenge for us because we have a big gap to fill especially after training with them for more than three years.” He added

In other women’s match Strathmore defeated USIU 53-49 despite having home court advantage .USIU’S veteran forward Daisy Lugendo hoped for improvements in their coming games.

For Citizen TV updates
Join @citizentvke Telegram channel



Video Of The Day: KEMRI scientists examine safety of anti-malarial drugs in first trimester of pregnancy

Avatar
Story By Sydney Munala
More by this author