Mixed fortunes for champs Ulinzi, Equity in basketball play-offs

Seline Okumu

KPA's Seline Okumu goes for a lay-up during the Kenya Basketball Federation play-off match against Strathmore University at Nyayo National Stadium on January 22, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In the women's Division One play-offs, Footprints registered a narrow 49-47 win over Kakamega's Western Delight, with Kenya College of Accountancy University winning 38-20 against Multi-Media University in their men's Division One play-offs opener.
  • In Mombasa, hosts Coastal Queens lost 53-39 to JKUAT, while Moi Air Base beat Mustangs in their opening matches of the women's and men's Division One play-offs respectively.

Champions Ulinzi Warriors men and Equity Bank women's basketball teams had mixed fortunes in their opening Premier League play-offs in Nairobi and Kisumu at the weekend.

Ulinzi Warriors, who are seeking to win their eighth title, started their campaign on a disappointing note after losing 73-61 away to Kisumu-based Lakeside on Saturday.

Ulinzi Warriors, who had also been beaten 61-58 by Lakeside in the regular seasong, fell into trouble from the first whistle when Lakeside's super star Trevor Gari, who nailed 20 points, guided the hosts to a 26-21 first quarter lead.

Lakeside were up 44-31 at the breather and hit the last nail in the soldiers' coffin with a deserved 17-14 run in the fourth quarter to clinch victory.

Ulinzi qualified for the play-offs after finishing second in the regular season with 42 points from 20 wins and two loses.

Lakeside sneaked into the play-offs after securing the final eighth spot on 31 points having won nine matches and lost 13.

Ulinzi Warriors face a tall order of winning Game Two at Nyayo to level the series and force the decisive Game Three, which will determine who sails into the semi- final.

"Our opponents have always had the out court as their advantage, while we are used to to the indoor Gymnasium'. We will  avenge the defeat at home and advance," said Ulinzi Stars coach William Balozi.

On the other hand, women's Premier League defending champions Equity Bank had a flying start in their campaign to win their fourth title when they registered a resounding 73-36 victory over Africa Nazarene University (ANU).

Game One was played at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday evening. It was an easy contest for coach Sylvia Njeri's side, who dominated the game from start to finish after leading 14-2 at the end of the first quarter, and 30-18 at the breather.

The much-improved Edna Kola scored 17 points, while Melisa Akinyi and Samba Mjomba each added 14 for Equity Bank, who finished second in the regular season.

ANU, who finished seventh to advance, replied with 13 points from Stella Nekesa and Mercy Mumo 11.

In another women's Premier League match, Storms made it 1-0 after they defeated University of Nairobi's Dynamites 47-31 in a low scoring Game One.

Storms, who finished fifth in the regular season with 25 points, led 17-13 the break.

 Zetech University demolished Eagle Wings 62-29 after leading 42-14 at the break in Game One. Game Two is scheduled for this weekend.

Thunder made a bright start after beating Blades 68-39 in Game One of their men's play-offs at Nyayo, while Kenya Ports Authority celebrated a 86-66 victory over stubborn hosts Eldonets at Uasin Gishu Primary in Eldoret.

KPA will host Eldonets in Game Two and Three (if necessary) in Mombasa on Saturday and Sunday.

Veteran Pherez Adala scored a game high 20 points, while Samuel Mwalo added 19 and Nelson Mandela 10 to help Terrorists upset Equity Bank 71-67 in a tough Game One.

Terrorists were down 34-30 at half-time, but rose to the occasion to punish the bankers 26-14 in the critical fourth quarter to carry the day.

In the women's Division One play-offs, Footprints registered a narrow 49-47 win over Kakamega's Western Delight, with Kenya College of Accountancy University winning 38-20 against Multi-Media University in their men's Division One play-offs opener.

In Mombasa, hosts Coastal Queens lost 53-39 to JKUAT, while Moi Air Base beat Mustangs in their opening matches of the women's and men's Division One play-offs respectively.

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