Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s league defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) host former KBF champions Ulinzi Warriors for the sides’ penultimate regular league match in Mombasa as the fight for the eight playoff positions nears culmination.
Holders, KPA, will be out to defend their unbeaten run while the soldiers seek to cement their second place in the 11-team log after regular league matches. Warriors have lost the least number of matches, five, and are keen to pick wins in their remaining matches against KPA and World Hope.
Before the Warriors’ clash, the Dockers will play students United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) Saturday as they chase their 18th win.
Coach Sammy Kiki’s charges will have an easy time against the students who are fighting a relegation battle as they have won just three of the 14 matches played.
“We have prepared well for the weekend matches and going by the current team chemistry, I am confident we will pick wins in the two matches.
We will change our approach during the Warrior’s match, as I expect it to be tough, since they will be out to prove that they can beat us in our own tuff. We have to play with urgency from the onset and assume an early lead rather than chasing the game,” Kiki said.
On their part, Warriors have Thunder threatening their stay at the second position and coach William Balozi’s charges are out for a win.
The soldiers will be hoping to overturn their 53-38 first leg loss to the Mombasa-based side and register a win, thus breaking KPA’s unbeaten run.
In the first leg, Warriors started well holding a one-point advantage into the first half break. Things, however, went downhill for the Balozi’s charges, who were then making a return to the league after six weeks of military games assignment, as they lost their third and fourth quarters 21-11 and 12-6, for the 53-38 loss.
“We have intensified our training and have not lost any matches recently. I trust my players will be in good form to pick a win against the champions. Despite missing the services of some players due to military duty, I have depth in my squad and we will do the job,” said Balozi ahead of the Sunday match.
In the women’s league, holders KPA take on USIU as Kenyatta University Oryx as they seek to redeem themselves from their weekend loss to Equity Bank’s Hawks that complicated their chances of finishing top of the table in regular season.
In other women’s matches, Eagle Wings take on Footprints while Storms play Masaku Sparks. Leaders Hawks welcome Western Delight.