KPA men, Ulinzi on level terms in KBF playoff final race
A fierce and titanic battle is expected in the Kenya Basketball Federation men’s Premier League final playoffs with three games left after former champions KPA fought back to tie the series 1-1 with reigning champions Ulinzi Warriors.
Ulinzi rallied from the first two-quarters trail to win Game One 68-66 on Saturday, April 2022, but KPA clinched Game Two 69-58 on Sunday, with both matches hosted by KPA at Makande Gymnasium to level matters going into Game Three and Four or Five, this weekend in Nairobi.
KPA coach Sammy Kiki feels relieved and rejuvenated after bouncing back from Game One’s disappointing defeat, he’s confident of building on their victory to complete the job and reclaim the title they last won in 2018.
“Game One on Saturday was a very painful loss to take. We had the game at our hands but we lost concentration and focus in the dying minutes of the last quarter plus turnovers also cost us,” said coach Kiki.
The first quarter ended 15-15, with KPA winning the second quarter 19-13 before the Warriors stepped up to win the third quarter 24-20, and the fourth quarter 16-12, to win the encounter.
Kenya Moran’s guard Victor Bosire scored a game-high 36 points to inspire Ulinzi to victory assisted by David Ouma (12), James Mwangi (8), Tiberius Menya (7), and Vicent Juma (5).
KPA on the other hand, had Ken Wachira (22), Lenox Wange (17), John Wljass (14), Frank Omondi (4), Victor Odendo (3), Martin Kitongo (2), Job Byron (2), and Brian Shwachi (2) working hard despite their efforts coming short.
Coach Kiki said he needed to bounce back to level the series, and he’s happy with how they executed their Game Two by intensifying his defence to limit Ulinzi’s scorers and it worked with his offence being great.
“It was great teamwork and a well-executed game plan and I’m proud of the boys. The team morale is high. We’re now going to work on areas that we didn’t do well, and we’re going to approach each game at a time and work overtime to win the title,” determined and revivified coach Kiki said.
To get KPA back on track in Game Two, Ken Wachira once again proved vital, scoring 19 points supported by his teammates John Wiljass (12), Job Byron (10), Lenox Wange (7), Tobias Odhiambo (7), returnee Nick Ogol (7), Martin Kitongo (4), Evans Leting (2), and Victor Odendo (1) for the victory.
Ulinzi on the other hand got their consolation through James Mwangi (16 points), Victor Bosire (12), Eric Mutoro (9), David Ouma (6), Joseph Khaemba (4), Tiberius Menya (4), Joseph Owino (3), Antonio Bwire (2), and Byron Mabonga (2).
KPA will turn to Nairobi seeking to win at least two games to recapture the trophy as Ulinzi get ready to host them at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Game Three, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Game Four, and/or Monday, April 25, 2022, in Game Five.