Thunder strikes KPA to oust Ulinzi Warriors from the summit

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Monday, September 30th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Basketball
[Courtesy]

Thunder thumped defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 82-68 at the weekend to dislodge Ulinzi Warriors from the top of the Kenya Basketball Federation men’s Premier League standings.

Kenya Morans captain Griffin Ligare was on fire sinking 26 points as last year’s semi-finalists completed a double against the dockers, who they had beaten during the first leg staged in Mombasa.

Faheem Juma and Kevin Chogo were also brilliant with 20 and 18 points while Job Byron led KPA with 19.

Thunder coach Sadat Gaya said a near-perfect game plan won them the match. “Victory was very crucial to us because we want to top standings at the end of the regular season. Going into the match each one of us had committed to giving their best and I’m glad we all turned up and made every minute of the match count because we had a good strategy. It worked wonders and made it easy for us to achieve our objective,” Gaya said.

Despite the disappointing outcome, KPA tactician Sammy Kiki praised his charges saying they played a good game, but Thunder were the better side.

“Thunder were superb in every aspect of the game. They were good from the onset and made us play catch up. The match is behind us now and we are focused on winning our remaining ties.”

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So good were Thunder that they had taken a commanding 43-27 lead by halftime. KPA would regain their footing in the second half to score 41 points against Thunder’s 39, but the 16 points first half advantage destroyed their hopes of a top two finish as they succumbed to their fifth loss.

In the women’s Premier League, University of Nairobi (UON) Dynamites piled more misery on their wounded hosts Western Delight at the Kakamega Police Grounds. The win enhanced Dynamites’ chances of a good finish in the regular season as they moved to fifth place ahead of November play-offs.

Valarie Kemunto starred for Dynamites with 16 points with Elizabeth Okumu and Faith Atieno adding 11 and 13 points respectively. Catherine Oloo led Delight, who have already been demoted to the lower tier with 11 points but her effort could not help her side avoid a 19th defeat.

Dynamites made the most out of their hosts’ slow start to the match to take a 17-11 first quarter lead. Delight were more rejuvenated in the second period containing UON for a level 10 score but it is the students who went into the breather with a six-point lead.

The city girls were unstoppable in the third quarter calling the shots as their hosts struggled to keep pace. Delight would take the third and fourth quarters 14-4 and 11-9 but the damage had already been done.

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