Basketball: Africa Nazarene University stun champs KPA

 Jemima Okaka

Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology's Jemima Okaka (centre) dribbles between Zetech University's Christine Akinyi (left) and Ashley Minayo during their Kenya Basketball Federation Women's Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium on June 26, 2022.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Storms registered their second straight win by defeating Eagle Wings 69-32. Eagle Wings had opened the new season with narrow 44-40 win over Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
  • In the men's Division Two, newcomers Stanbic harvested maximum four points after they won their two first leg matches at USIU-A.

Newly promoted Africa Nazarene University (ANU) men's basketball team caused a major upset after beating champions Kenya Ports Authority 73-63 in
their Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League first leg match at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium at the weekend.

ANU, who joined the top league this season from Division One, defied the odds to deny the eight-time champions a vital point at this early stage of the 2022 season.

KPA, who snatched the Premier League title from Ulinzi Warriors after they defeated the soldiers 3-2 in a tight best-of-five series final, had started their title defence with a promising 59-42 victory over red-hot rivals Strathmore University Blades on Saturday.

Much was expected from the dock men after they had shattered Blades' unbeaten record in three outings.

"We did not operate well in our offensive pattern and well improve in the return leg match because KPA is a beatable side," said Blades coach Tonny Ochieng.

ANU started life in the top-flight league with 76-63 win over Umoja, before falling 66-74 to Thunder in their second match.

However, they deserved maximum points against the champions as they outplayed them from the second quarter after narrowly trailing 10-9 in first quarter.

KPA, who were over stretched in their 59-42 win over Blades, were under heavy pressure from the well prepared students in three quarters. ANU led 24-21 in second quarter and continued to control the proceedings to lead 33-31 at half-time.

ANU's Man of the Match James Matial, who scored game-high 24 points and teammate Victor Mwoka, who sunk 10 points, were in top gear with the students making KPA look ordinary.

ANU comfortably led 22-18 and 18-14 in the third and fourth quarters respectively. KPA's Frank Omondi scored 17 points.

"We approached the game with confidence and my players refused to be intimidated by the champions to emerge winners. KPA is an experienced team and denying them all the two points was a great achievement for us," said ANU coach Mike Oluoch.

KPA coach Sammy Kiki said they shall work on the team chemistry especially the defence to perform better in the coming first leg matches.

Thunder kept their fire burning winning their second match 64-61 against rivals Equity Bank on Saturday.

The victory did not come on a sliver platter as they needed over-time after both teams had tied 55-55 in regulation time.

Still fresh after beating ANU 74-66, Thunder stopped the bankers 9-6 in the five
minutes extra-time to celebrate their second straight win.

Women's Premier League champions KPA maintained their unbeaten record by winning their two away first leg matches.

The dock women, opened their season with a 95-42 win over Storms in Mombasa, defeated Strathmore University Swords 59-42 on Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium

On Sunday, Anthony Ojukwu's KPA punished ANU 78-26 at the same venue.

"We started improving in execution and intensified training to maintain the winning streak as our new players fit in the system," Ojukwu said.

Storms registered their second straight win by defeating Eagle Wings 69-32. Eagle Wings had opened the new season with narrow 44-40 win over Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

In the men's Division Two, newcomers Stanbic harvested maximum four points after they won their two first leg matches at USIU-A.

Stanbic rocked experienced Little Prince 69-43 and went ahead to beat Hope 83-43.

NIBS Panthers also garnered four points after they defeated JKUAT 51-41 before benefiting from a 20-0 walk-over against opponents Feba, who failed to show up without reason.

In men's Division One, Snipers, under coach-player William Ochieng, demolished debutantes Absa 49-37, ZU Development clobbered Strathmore University's second team 46-43 and Cabal Elisists punished JKUAT 55-35.

Hosts USIU-A used their home court advantage to beat fellow students KCA-U 38-30 in a low scoring women's lower tier league.

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