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Title hopes for KPA as men’s play offs dock in Mombasa

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s league title duel heads to Mombassa for Game three, Four and Five as holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) hope to finish the job today against Ulinzi Warriors for their third consecutive title and seventh overall.

With KPA leading the series 2-0, Warriors are in a must-win tie if hopes of clinching their eighth title are to remain alive. Coach William Balozi’s charges are hoping that the same trick they used to end KPA’s unbeaten run during regular season at their own home turf in the second leg will work this time.

The soldier stunned many as they came from 2-0 down to win the best-of-five semi-final series 3-2, against hard fighting Thunder. The feat saw them make a return to the finals after a two-year absence.

The question, however, is whether Balozi’s men can pull the same comeback against the defending champions or their title drought will extend for another year.

“We have had good training and even got here early to have a feel of the gymnasium and also acclimatise. My players are all fit and rearing to go. I expect nothing short of a win in Saturday’s match,” said coach Balozi.

On their part, KPA are hoping to beat their slow starts that almost cost them the matches in Game One and Two and hold on through the match for the record win.

A win for Sammy Kiki’s men will make them the second active premier league team, after Warriors, to win three or more consecutive titles. The other teams to achieve that feat are the defunct Posta, Co-operative Spartans and KCB Lions.

If the first match is anything to go by, the crucial Game Three and the subsequent matches could go any way if Warriors can tighten their defence. The two sides leveled on points from turnover points but Warriors scored 10 more from the paint.

KPA led in second chance points at 12 against nine, scored 25 from non-starting players against Warrior’s 10 and were picked 15 fast break points against 8.

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