Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) premier league playoffs tipped off over the weekend with four men’s teams and two women’s sides taking a crucial one-match lead in the best-of-three quarter-finals.
Former champions Ulinzi Warriors dominated in all fronts to beat Umoja 56-34 and set one foot in the last four. Erick Mutoro and John Washika combined well in the onslaught; the former scoring three-pointers at will for the 22-point win.
Allan Ouma opened Umoja’s account with a three-point throw with Douglas Momanyi adding two points to extend the lead for the Eastlands-based side. However, the soldiers sprang to action, scoring back to back to take the lead and go on to win the quarter 22-11.
Umoja fought hard in the second quarter to force a 14-13 outcome for the match to head to the break with a 12-point difference in favour of Warriors.
The William Balozi coached soldiers managing 15 points while denying Umoja who managed just four dominated the third quarter. The final quarter was slow as the teams played for a lowly 5-6 point score, Umoja taking the quarter.
“We had a good game and I am mostly happy with how the players performed. However, we were poor in the final quarter and despite being in the lead, such complacency is not good. Our transition from defence to attack is also wanting and I hope to work on that before we head for Game Two,” said Balozi.
In another match, Strathmore University Blades were the better side against fellow scholars Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University as they won the Game One battle 54-34.
Tony Ochieng’s charges won all quarters 12-11, 10-04, 19-10 and 19-9 as their opponents were a shadow of their regular season self, much to the disappointment of their fans. The Blades tactician attributed their win to experience and good preparations but took issue with their execution which he says should be worked if they are to advance in the competition.
A disappointed Charles Goro, KCA head coach, blamed basic mistakes for his side’s poor show. “I am disappointed in how we played but I take consolation in having two more matches to redeem ourselves. We committed many mistakes that cost us a win. For an instant, we had 27 turnovers that forced me to play without my guards as they were giving away the balls easily. Our balls were also not dropping,” said Goro.
Meanwhile, Storms were first to pick a win in the women’s league quarter-finals as they saw off Eagle Wings 59-40 (11-8, 15-8, 20-11, 13-13).