Thunder are one match away from booking a maiden finals slot in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s Premier League and coach Sadat Gaya says the chance is theirs to lose.
The Shauri Moyo-based side is leading the best-of-five semi-final series 2-0 against former KBF champions Ulinzi Warriors. Gaya’s charges powered to a 1-0 lead on Saturday with an 80-70 win before complicating matters for the soldiers on Sunday with a 70-57 thrashing.
Griffins Ligare, Faheem Juma and Kevin Chogo were Gaya’s ammunition in destroying William Balozi’s charges with Nathan Terry unable to replicate Saturday heroics a day later.
“I am counting on my players to approach the game with the same energy. It is, however, crucial for us to correct our mistakes as despite winning Game Two, we missed simple layups and were imperfect in our rebounding and such could cost us,” said Gaya.
Balozi has, however, warned their rivals against writing them off. The most critical match for the soldiers is on Saturday as victory will get them back in the contest.
Thunder led throughout the two matches, with the soldiers unable to overturn the deficit they had going to the breather in both matches to lose by 10 and 13 points respectively.
“It was a bad weekend and Thunder were better than us, capitalising on our mistakes but if we work on our defence we can overturn this,” said Balozi.
In the other semi-final, Blades outrun Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to win Game Two 69-56 and level the series 1-1. Blades top scored in all periods (13-10, 20-17, 17-15 and 19-14) for the win as Ken Dwallo and Fidel Okoth combined for 34 points (18 and 16 respectively). Victor Bosire top-scored for KPA with 13 points while Dickson Aran contributed 10 for the dockers in the loss.
Action for the Blades versus KPA clash moves to Mombasa this weekend for Game Three to Five from Saturday to Monday.
Meanwhile, KPA and Equity Hawks registered mixed results at the ongoing FIBA Africa Women’s Champions Cup (ACCW) in Maputo, Mozambique.
KPA won their first match 80-58 against Lakers of Zimbabwe before falling to First Bank of Nigeria 95-71. Hawks had an unfortunate run, losing their first two matches 68-45 against hosts Ferroviario de Maputo and 77-44 against military side FAP of Cameroon.