City Thunder, Ulinzi Warriors top spot fight down to the wire

Monday, September 30th, 2019 00:00 |
Benjamin Muga of Thunder (right) dribbles past Victor Odendo of KPA during their Premier League match at the weekend. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Nairobi City Thunder and Ulinzi Warriors will, on Friday night, lock horns in a fight for top place in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s regular league. Thunder will be looking to complete a double against the soldiers.

Thunder beat Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 82-68 in the highlight match of the weekend to keep their hopes of a top place finish alive as a loss would have given Warriors an upper hand ahead of the playoffs.

Thunder led from the first whistle as they went on to restrict the dockers to just eight points in the first quarter as they scored 17.

Holders KPA played a better second quarter but their efforts were not enough as Thunder still won 26-19 to head to the breather with a 16-point deficit.

The second half saw KPA attempt a comeback but Thunder had cushioned themselves with the 16 points.

The dockers scored 20 points in the third quarter as their opponents made 22 to extend the lead to 16 points.

Twenty one points in the final quarter for KPA against Thunder’s 17 was too little too late for coach Sammy Kiki’s men.

“We had a game plan not to chase the game since Thunder are strong offensively but our strategy failed in the first quarter.

Second place is unachievable and we now have to fight for third by winning the remaining three matches,” said KPA coach Kiki. 

His opposite number Sadat Gaya said his players had a good day on the court and their plan to slow KPA’s point guard Keegan Oyugi and Martin Kitong’o gave them an easy time on the court.

“KPA have a good squad with very fast players but once we dealt with Oyugi and messed their flow on the court, we slowed them down and were able to dictate the pace.

We also denied them chances for second shots, mostly taken by Kitong’o and Ariel Okal and that kept their scoring on the low.

We now shift our attention to the Warriors match as we fight to finish top of the standings,” said Gaya.

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