KPA savour Equity revenge
Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s Premier League defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) avenged their first-leg loss to Equity Bank with a 70-56 win in the return match played at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium at the weekend.
The dockers started strongly, picking a 21-6 lead in the first period with Tom Wamukota and Evans Letting leading the scoring in that quarter, as the holders denied Equity scoring chances with a well-executed defence.
Equity regrouped for a better show in the second quarter but KPA still won 17-12 to head to the breather with a massive 20-point advantage.
The second half went Equity’s way.
Coach Carey Odhiambo introduced Victor Ochieng and the former KPA man became a thorn in his former employer’s flesh, changing the flow and tempo of the match in favour of his side.
Titus Musembi and Kevin Kigotho, who in the end had 17 and 12 points respectively to their name, took matters in their own hands, driving past the KPA defence to score 15 of the 18 points in the third quarter.
KPA managed 16 in the third quarter. The final period saw the bankers score 20 against their opponents’ 16 but it was too little too late for a comeback.
“I think the players did not prepare mentally for the KPA encounter and there might have been some laxity seeing that we won in the first leg.
It was as if everything we had talked about before the match was forgotten in the first half,” said Odhiambo.
He added: “Our second half was what I had expected from my players the entire match but they recovered too late.
The experience of Ochieng, who was initially not in our plans for the day as he had personal engagements, played a big role in steadying our play. We still have seven more matches and nothing is lost yet.”
KPA tactician Sammy Kiki credited the win to team-work and good preparations for a match he had termed a ‘must-win’ in order to maintain hopes of finishing in the top three in the regular season.
“We analysed Equity’s strong points and planned how to stop them and it worked. Our shots were dropping and our defence worked well.
We did not struggle from the onset,” said Kiki, who hopes to sustain the same rhythm going into the Basketball Africa League (BAL) where his side will represent Kenya in the Maritime Zone against clubs from Djibouti, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros.
Meanwhile, United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Tigers had a weekend to forget as they lost their two weekend matches 92-44 against Ulinzi Warriors and 56-50 against Kenya College of Accountancy-University (KCA-U).