By ERICK OCHIENG’
The University of Nairobi Terror and the United States International University (Usiu) are the champions of Kenya’s Zuku Universities Basketball League.
Terror edged resilient and new entrants Mount Kenya University Nakuru Campus 72-68 to win the men’s national finals held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, at the weekend.
Likewise, experienced Usiu had a walk in the park against first timers Maseno University Main Campus whom they beat 82-38 to retain the women’s national title.
Both Terror and Usiu bagged Sh150,000 for their feats. Terror, who led in the quarter’s tally 29-25 at the breather, was led by Geoffrey Oteki who was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the league, while the tallest player in the league, Nicholas Ayang, proved outstanding for Nakuru. “I am glad we put up a spirited fight despite having a poor run in the first quarter,” said Nakuru coach Richard Kanda.
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Usiu, led by Kenya’s MVP Hilda Indasi, took their tally to 37-15 by half time, with instructions from coach George Mayienga who noted that their hard work had paid off.
“Maseno did not know how to stop us. We won because of our massive experience. We hope to retain the title for the third time in a row next season,” Mayienga told FeverPitch.
Maseno coach Allan Kangi said: “Even though we did not carry the overall crown, I am happy with our women’s runners-up position and the fifth place our men bagged. This is a step in the right direction being the first time we are playing in a competitive league. My young players staged a gallant show in the entire league against veterans.”
Michael Finley, the managing director of Miles & Associates International that manages the university league in partnership with the Kenya University Sports Association, said: “The national men and women’s university champions took home Sh150,000, while the first and second runners-up received Sh75,000 and Sh40,000 respectively for their outstanding performance in this year’s season.”
Finley added that the league required all participating universities to utilise the league prize monies to improve the basketball programmes at their respective institutions.
Winners will also benefit from two scholarship opportunities courtesy of celebrated film star Samuel L Jackson valued at Sh5,000,000, while league sponsors Zuku have also committed Sh3 million to cater for an additional two students’ university education, for four years.
In addition, winners of the conference play-offs across the country won a Sh20,000 prize while first and second runners-up earned Sh10,000 and Sh5,000 respectively.
Apart from the prize money, players and fans were rewarded with loads of great prizes courtesy of Zuku TV, Samsung and Rexona that included laptops, cameras, 32” TVs, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung [email protected] 333 phones, Samsung Galaxy music phones and Zuku decoders.