Ulinzi level best of five final series after Game Two win
Former Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s Premier League champions, Ulinzi Warriors had to fight hard to level the best-of-five final series after a 123-106 win against Nairobi City Thunder in Game Two at Nyayo Gymnasium yesterday.
It took the soldiers two extra periods to dismantle the stubborn Thunder and ensure the series goes up to Game Four.
The two tacticians, Thunder’s Sadat Gaya and Warriors’ William Balozi had stuck with the same starting lineups that did duty in Game One.
Ulinzi captain John Washika drew first blood with two perfect jumpers for four points which were replied to by Kevin Chogo.
Victor Bosire added a trey for Warriors, replying to Faheem Juma’s three pointer.
The first quarter ended 19-14 in favour of the soldiers but Thunder pulled back to score 26 points against Warriors’ 20. The match headed to the breather with the Shauri Moyo-based side holding a one-point advantage.
On resumption, Juma caught the Warriors’ defence napping and extended the lead to 46 with two treys as Chogo added a basket for the score to read 48-39 with just a minute played in the half.
The soldiers clawed back to make it a one-point game but a clutch three pointer from Nathan Terry on the buzzer gave Thunder a four-point lead heading to the final quarter.
Warriors assumed the lead at 70-69 but Thunder got back to the helm at 71-70 with two converted free throws from Pascal Nabwana.
With one minute and 40 seconds to play, Warriors had assumed the lead and created a five-point cushion at 81-76. However, it was reduced to a one-point game again with four converted free throws.
The match tied at 86 points in regulation time, forcing an extra period which ended in another tie at 102 points.
William Otieno’s basket on the buzzer, which would have given Warriors the win was ruled out forcing a second extra time.
Washika led his charges on a full throttle fight in the second extra period as the soldiers scored 21 points against Thunders’ four for a 123-106 win.
Thunder, playing in their first-ever final, shook off a slow start in Game One, where they had trailed by six points at half-time to take the third and fourth quarters for a 75-73 win.
Chogo led Thunder to victory in that first match with 22 points while Juma made 15 points respectively. Eric Mutoro watched as his game-high 32 points went to waste.