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Equity Hawks claw KPA to retain women's league title

BASKETBALL By Elizabeth Mburugu | December 22nd 2019 | 2 min read

Annerose Mandela fulfilled her longtime time dream as she sunk 19 points to steer Equity Bank to their third Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) women premier league title.

Mandela’s wish to be an outstanding player came true on Friday night when she was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) as curtains fell on the 2019 season at Nyayo Gymnasium. Going into the last of the five-game series tied on 2-2 with former champions and bitter rivals Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Mandela knew too well that it was a make-or-break chance.

And as she staged a stellar show to lead Equity to a 61-51 victory over the dockers. The bankers could seal their third top tier crown with a 3-2 win having won Game One in Mombasa and games three and five in Nairobi.

The dockers bounced back to level the series twice in Game Two at their Makande Hall court and Game Four in Nairobi but failed to stop Hawks.

Equity coach David Maina said they were determined to retain the title for their injured star player Betty Kananu. “We wanted to win this title and to represent Betty well, we had to do it. Our critics wrote us off when she sustained an injury and was ruled out action.

They thought that our season had ended but we resolved to fight to the end for her and I’m glad we did it."

Mandela did not only have brilliant shots but also ensured that Hilda Indasi who had been impressive for the dockers throughout the season was under total control.

The title was won in the first half as Belinda Okoth, Mandela, Melissa Akinyi and Salma Akinyi tormented the dockers thwarting every effort they made to settle and take charge of the game.  

The bankers made their intentions clear when they took a 14-9 lead at the break of the first quarter before stretching it to 30-13 at the breather to force KPA to play catch-up.

In their bid to reclaim the title they lost last year, the dockers returned stronger in the second half taking the third quarter 17-15 and the fourth 21-16 but it was a little too late for them.

University of Nairobi Terror and Riara University Bucks, the Men Division One and Division Two champions, respectively, were also given their trophies.

Terror and Kenyatta University Pirates will next season play in the men’s premier league while Bucks and Coastal Kings will battle for promotion to the top tier in Division One.

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