Thunder-ous challenge awaits Warriors in final playoffs


Thunder-ous challenge awaits Warriors in final playoffs
Eric Mutoro (L) of Ulinzi Warriors outpaces Benjamin Muga of Thunder during their men’s Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League match at Nyayo stadium Gymnasium on November 18, 2018. Thunder won 70-57. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.

In Summary

  • Ulinzi sailed through after edging holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 77-70 while Thunder booked a place after defeating EMYBA 74-72.

Ulinzi Warriors and Thunder men basketball teams will face off in the Kenya Basketball Federation league final playoffs after each won their respective game four matches of the semis series on Saturday at Nyayo Gymnasium to sail through.

Ulinzi sailed through after edging holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 77-70 while Thunder booked a place after defeating EMYBA 74-72.

The soldiers had won Game Three 85- 74  on Friday a week after they had won Game One 82-69  and lost Game Two 92-69.

By being outfoxed, KPA’s dominance comes to a screeching halt after winning the title for three successive years (2016, 2017 and 2018).

Like Friday’s duel, the Dockers were no match for the Warriors who dominated three quarters with the former winning just one quarter.

Ulinzi began strongly winning the first quarter 27-19 before adding another narrow win of 20-19 in the second quarter to head to halftime leading 47-38 against the visitors.

After the break the dockers seemed to have listened to the advice of their technical bench charging strongly to claim a 16-11 victory  but their efforts came to naught in the fourth quarter where they were hammered 19-16.

Eric Mutoro continued with his individual brilliance scoring 28 points for the soldiers with captain John Washika scoring 15 while Job Byron and Ken Wachira scored 25 and 13 points respectively for the port men.

Despite the win, Ulinzi’s captain John Washika said they are still going to make changes and improvements for the final.

“We are going back to the drawing board once more to make some few adjustments on our defence and fall back,” Washika said.

Meanwhile Thunder qualified for the final for the first under head coach Sadat Gaya . It’s also the first time they’ll be playing in the final since 2000 when they bagged the crown.

Thunder had won Game Three 77-68 on Friday a week after they had won Game Two 80-71 but fell  83-80 in Game One.

Their head coach attributed the win to team work.

“I thank my fellow technical bench and players who made me look good and carried me when it mattered a lot,” he said.

Ulinzi and Thunder will be facing each other for in a five-match serie final from Tuesday at the Nyayo Gymnasium in Nairobi.

KPA will on the other hand be travelling for the Basketball Africa League (B.A.L) second round of qualifiers which will be staged in Rwanda from 16th December 2019.

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Story By Dennis Kamariki
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