Defending champions KCB see off Prisons to force a decisive final clash

Kenya Prisons' Wyvonne Wavinya (left) spikes the ball during their second match of the KVF League play-offs finals at Kasarani Stadium on Saturday. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) recovered from the disappointing match one loss to win the second tie of the three-match series and set a date for today’s tie-breaker. 

With their title at stake, the bankers fought like wounded lions to beat former champions Kenya Prisons in straight sets at Kasarani Gymnasium yesterday, and level the score 1-1 to take the battle to the wire.

An elated KCB coach Japheth Munala said that Friday’s loss forced them back to the drawing board and the fact that it was a must win match who told his players to play their hearts out.

“We agreed that we will not go down without a proper fight, we had a meeting after the Friday match and made some changes in the team and our game plan too.

"I’m glad that our strategy worked and we look forward to Sunday’s which is also a do-or-die encounter for us because we are the defending champions,” Munala said.

Prisons coach Josp Barasa blamed the loss on a poor approach to the game saying the players he expected to help the team failed to rise to the occasion.

“Our approach to the game was not good, we had a poor start and allowed our opponents to settle in the game well. Our finishing was also waning but all is not lost because we still have a chance to make amends and I believe that the title is still within our reach,” Barasa said.

KCB made their intentions to win known with a very impressive start taking a 7-1 lead before Prisons coach Baraza called for a timeout.

Coach Barasa’s pep talk seemed to be working as Prisons came from six points down to take a 10-8 lead thanks to brilliant services from Anne Lowen.

With Prisons posing a threat to their much-needed win, Barasa’s equal Munala called for a timeout to put his house in order.

The match was evenly contested with both sides tying at 16 points a piece before KCB secured a two points advantage thanks to an error in judgment by their opponents.

However, Prisons were not ready to let the bankers scoring quick points put the score at 19-18 before Munala called for another timeout.

The two sides would put up a spirited fight exchanging narrow leads of one or two points. Nonetheless, got the better of Prisons to snatch the first set 28-26.

The second set was no different from the first as both sides fought tooth and nail though Prisons seemed to be the stronger side taking a 4-1 lead before KCB recovered to level the score 5-5.

Determined not to relinquish their crown without a proper fight, KCB would go ahead to take the second set 26-24 before dominating the third set to secure the third set 25-21 and revive their hopes of retaining their title.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) triumphed in their respective third place playoff matches to win bronze. KPA beat Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) 3-2 (25-16, 21-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-10) to secure a third-place finish in the men’s league.

Former women’s champions KPC beat DCI in straight sets of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-22 to take bronze.

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