Second leg matches of this year’s men and women’s Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League were marred with upsets in Nairobi at the weekend.
Thunder, who had lost 79-57 to reigning men’s Premier League champions Kenya Ports Authority, recovered to shock former winners Co-op Bank 79-75.
The tight return leg showdown was one of the six matches that were hurriedly shifted to Strathmore University Madaraka Grounds after Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium was unavailable on Sunday.
Co-op Bank, who had easily beaten Thunder in the first leg, were this time on the receiving end from the word go trailing 24-17 in the first quarter. After Kevin Kigotho and Joshua Kisali helped Co-op Bank to lock the scores at 12-12 in the second quarter, Thunder edged forward to a slim 38-36 lead at the breather.
Co-op Bank, who had defeated USIU-A Tigers 69-55 at Nyayo on Saturday, were unable to contain high-riding Paul Nyakinda and Abel Nson.
The duo, who contributed 36 points, were the main actors as Thunder raced to a 26-19 lead at the end of the third quarter. Kigotho scored 19 points with Kisali contributing 15 points for Thunder.
“We are determined to make the play-offs and the victory has boosted our morale,” Thunder coach Collins Gaya said while his opposite number, Carey “T9” Oketch admitted that his team lost to a better side.
Trailblazers needed 18 points from Alex Onguso while Lension Kisia added 15 to beat pre-match favourites Lions 75-55. Trailblazers made Lions to look ordinary as they outscored them 25-15 in the last quarter. Cedrick Omondi contributed 13 points for Lions while veteran Dennis “Dikembe’’ Opiyo scored 10 more points.
Eagle Wings’ 75-62 win over the much improved Storms also came as a surprise. Superstar Mercy Wanyama scored 18 points and Eunice Ouma shot 14 for coach Everline Kedogo’s well drilled side who led 31-27 at half-time. Sylvia Omollo led Storms with 16 points, Linnet Mukiri provided 12 while Winnie Wafula replying for Wings with 14 points.
Umoja rallied from behind to beat KCA-U 43-34 and maintain their winning streak. Umoja, who recently upset Ulinzi Warriors 54-48, regrouped after trailing 13-17 at half-time for dramatic victory.
Gilbert Obiero poured in 12 points and new signing Allan Ouma from Co-op Bank added 10.
Kenya Ports Authority men and women’s teams used their home court advantage to defeat visiting Equity Bank sides from Nairobi. Men’s defending champions KPA beat Equity Bank 61-57 while KPA women’s team denied champions Equity Bank all the four points by beating them 61-55. KPA had beaten Equity Bank 48-44 in the first leg tie in Nairobi.
Zetech University men and women’s teams registered victories against their hosts in Kakamega. Zetech rocked Nebulas 85-75 in the men’s Division One league while their women’s side beat experienced Western Delight in the a Premier League first leg match.
Coach Juma Kent’s Footprints kept the good record beating Gladiators 58-34 while 4-Christ punished Riara University 74-65 after trailing 36-37 at the breather.
Men: Thunder 79 Co-op Bank 75, Umoja 43 KCA-U 34, Blazers 75 Lions 55, 4-Christ 74 Riara University 65, World Hope 52 ANU 56, KDF Morans 43 Emyba 38, MKU Thika 47 Neosasa 44, KPA 61 Equity Bank 55, Zetech University 85 Nebulas 75, Eldonets 70 Pirates 60.
Women: KPA 61 Equity Bank 55, Storms 62 Eagle Wings 75, Footprints 58 Gladiators 34.