KPA edge closer

Monday, November 4th, 2019 06:56 |
Martin Kitongo of KPA attempts to make a basket under pressure from Pascal Nabwana of Blades during a past KBF Premier League play-offs semi-final at the Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium. PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s league defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) won all their group F matches to qualify for the second round of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers.

The first round, which concluded yesterday in Antananarivo, Madagascar, had brought together five teams in hosts and Madagascar champions Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club (GNBC), Beau Vallon Heat of Seychelles, Cobras from South Sudan, Usoni of Comoros and KPA. The dockers tipped off their campaign for one of the two slots up for grabs in the group, against the hosts where they played a closely-contested match, winning 98-84 to set their competition off in the right footing.

The Kenyans picked from where they had left on Friday, thrashing Beau Vallon Heat 131-56 in a one-sided match. Ariel Okal led the onslaught in the two opening matches.

Next on KPA’s chopping board was the South Sudanese, and while they presented the toughest test for Sammy Kiki’s charges, they still bowed out as KPA won 81-78 to qualify for the second round with a match to spare. Ken Wachira stared in the Cobras match, scoring 27 points mostly from his signature three pointers.

Despite the assurance of a slot in the November 26 to December 1 second round in Rwanda, the dockers ran riot against Usoni yesterday to crown their campaign with a massive 121-74 victory and head to the second round as the best-placed team from the group.

“I am happy the boys played so well. We came here with the sole purpose of qualifying for the second stage of the BAL qualifiers and we took every game seriously. We are happy to qualify as number one. I am proud of the players,” said Kiki, who had relied on his regular squad with the addition of one point guard, Michael Kazunguzibwe from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kiki’s side is one step away from qualifying for BAL.

 They need to finish in the top three in the second round of their conference (Eastern). 

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