Thunder rumble past Warriors, inch closer to play-off final


Thunder rumble past Warriors, inch closer to play-off final
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

  • Thunder have one foot in the men basketball final after thrashing Ulinzi Warriors in game one and two of semi final playoffs winning 70-57 and 80-70 respectively at Nyayo Gymnasium at the weekend.
  • In game two played Sunday evening, Blades outshone the dockers in all quarters sending a clear message to the champions that’s it’s no longer business as usual.

Thunder have one foot in the men basketball final after thrashing Ulinzi Warriors in game one and two of semi final playoffs winning 70-57 and 80-70 respectively at Nyayo Gymnasium at the weekend.

The Shauri Moyo based self sponsored club shocked the favourites with the two early leads in the playoffs. The two sides lock horns again this weekend in  Nairobi in game three, four and five in the five-game series play off though Thunder need just one win out of the three left matches to seal a place in the final which will see them represent the country in the Zone Five Championship next year.

And at Nyayo on Sunday, Thunder took an early lead in the first quarter hammering the soldiers 20-14 before beating them again in the second quarter 18-11.

Ulinzi reenergized themselves in the third quarter winning 14-11 but this was not enough as the on-fire Thunder crashed them in the last quarter 21-18.

Thunder will meet either Strathmore Blades or Kenya Ports Authority in the final expected to be played next month.

“It feels great to win because it puts us in good position. We hope to keep up the momentum and be able to close it in game three,” Thunder captain Griffin Ligare said after the weekend victory.

For his part head head coach Sadat Gaya attributed the win to hard work.

“We struggled on moving the balls in the quarters but we improved on it and it worked for us. We know Ulinzi will come out strong in game three but we won’t relax ,” Gaya charged.

Meanwhile defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) lost their game two of semi finals playoffs 56-69 to last season’s first runners up Blades of Strathmore University.

KPA who had won game one on Saturday had high hopes of winning game two to make things easy in the remaining matches to be played at their Mombasa backyard next weekend.

In game two played Sunday evening, Blades outshone the dockers in all quarters sending a clear message to the champions that’s it’s no longer business as usual.

Blades took a commanding lead in the first quarter winning 13-10 before chalking up a 20-17  win in the second quarter. The same momentum continued in the third and fourth quarters where they prevailed 17-15 and 19-14 respectively.

KPA had won game one  62-54 making for a tight and entertaining fixture this weekend in Mombasa as the two sides clash in  game three, four and five.

“It was a remarkable win. Man-marking tactic helped us a lot and we hope to improve on game management to avoid losing the ball,” Blades head coach Tony Ochieng said.

On his side, KPA head coach Sammy Kiki blamed the defeat to over confidence by his players.

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Story By Dennis Kamariki
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