10 February 2016

TANZANIA - Savio, Oilers Shine As RBA Rages On

Dar es Salaam Regional basketball League raged on over the weekend with giants Savio and Oilers posting crucial victories. Savio fought bravely to tame ABC in 66-52 in a thrilling Regional Basketball league match held at the national Indoor Stadium on Saturday night.
In the same night, Oilers, other league giants had to wait till the last minute to claim a slim 75-74 victory over Young Stars. It was a tough game for Savio; especially in the first quarter which the team stamped a slim 10-8 lead at its end.
ABC continued to hold Savio, who once again used extra skills to post a 23-17 victory at the end of the second quarter. The third quarter was even a tough one the favourites. Savio claimed a 40-36 victory, only two baskets separated them.
The fourth quarter saw Savio coming up with a bigger force and improved tactics. They managed to add 26 points more compared to 16 points garnered by ABC in the final quarter.
Maige Yunzu was instrumental in Savio's victory as he fired home 15 points while his team mate Amin Nkosa added 15 more points to the team. Also played brilliantly were veteran players George Tarimo and Mohamed Yusuf who each notched 6 points. Yunzu also led in three points brace by doing it three times while doing blocks two times
He provided scoring pass to his teammates 8 times, but he made 3 turn overs. The ABC team relied on Salim Mchemba who was their top marksman. He scored 13 points while his teammate Filbert Mawaipungu penned another 13 points.
Veteran player, Juma Kissoky added 12 points for ABC and Gilbert Batungi who posted 6 points. Mwaipungu did double three pointer and provided scoring passes 9 times.
In another match played at the same venue, Oilers beat Young Stars 75-74 in fiercely contested encounter. Oilers tied with their opponents 23-23 at the end of the first quarter and again they tied 36-36 at the breather.
Oilers led 67-59 in the third quarter before registering a slim 75-74 at the end of the game. Evance Davids hammered 20 points for Oilers while Shafi Songoro and Musa Mwakalobo each posted 12 points.
Mahfudh Simba netted 16 points for Young Stars and Joas Maheta adding 15 more points to his side. The teams had tied 74 all at the end before a shot decision was applied to find the winner. Oilers converted it while their opponents missed.

KENYA .- USIU-A Flames beat KPA to retain title

  • Stunned! Sammy Kiki, the KPA women's basketball coach bravely led his team to five games against USIU-A. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • USIU-A Flames were stretched to the fifth game before beating Kenya Ports Authority to retain the Kenya Basketball Federation women's Premier League title. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • Stunned! Sammy Kiki, the KPA women's basketball coach bravely led his team to five games against USIU-A. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • USIU-A Flames were stretched to the fifth game before beating Kenya Ports Authority to retain the Kenya Basketball Federation women's Premier League title. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
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United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) women's basketball team bagged its second straight league title with a 3-2 series win over Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the playoffs final on Monday.
The competitive series had to go to the full distance although game five was an anti-climax with USIU-A winning 74-46. They were awarded Sh100,000 while KPA got Sh50,000 prize money. Both teams will represent Kenya at the Fiba-Africa Zone V championships this year
In the fifth game, SIU-A played a free-scoring game and dominated from start to the end. KPA simply didn't come to play. The dockers allowed the students to score easy points.
Their key players failed to rise to the occasion and committed simple errors which was their  biggest undoing. USIU-A dismissed KPA in a similar fashion to Equity Bank in the semifinals.
In both series, they lost game one but won game two then lost game three. They then swept home games four and five but head coach George Mayienga says it was not part of their strategy.
“It has not been easy defending the title especially dealing with students,” he told Sports News Arena. “Sometimes I go for training and only two or three players have turned up. If it was a club, things would have been easy because I can take them to a camp but for students, you get them out of lecture halls every time there is a game to play.”
Mayienga attributed the success to teamwork. “At USIU-A, we have made it a family and as the coach I must follow up on where players are most of the time so that we don't mess up our schedule,” he added. “It's not just about the game but everything that goes around the lives of these players.”
USIU-A remained consistent
The coach singled out game five of the final as their best in both semifinal and final and it was evident on the court. KPA did not have a chance to lead in the entire forty minutes as USIU-A remained consistent to inflate the margin with every quarter.
Georgia Adhiambo, the standout player and fans favorite in the game opened the account for USIU-A with a three-point shot. The students went on to open a nine-point lead in the first quarter of 21-12 to win 23-15 as Cynthia Irankunda scored eight points and Sarah Chan accounted for six.
Inside three minutes of second quarter, the margin stretched to 12 points as USIU-A led 27-15 to win the quarter 8-6 and lead 31-21 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the students opened a 22-point lead of 51-29 and won 22-10.
In the fourth quarter, the body language of KPA players was that of resignation to fate as they did not give USIU-A any meaningful challenge. In five minutes, Adhiambo had made three three-pointers to help USIU-A open a 30-point lead and they extended to 31 points at 70-39 winning the quarter 21-15.
USIU-A scored 18 points from the arc and 12 from the free-throw line while KPA had six points from the arc and seven from free shots. Adhiambo hit six three-pointers to top score for USIU-A with 22 points, Chan scored 16 and Irankunda had 15.
Natalie Akinyi top scored for KPA with 12 points. Chan was named the most valuable player and pocketed Sh10,000. “It’s amazing. I thank my teammates for pushing me to work hard until now I am the best. This award is all about team effort and not my individual brilliance,” Chan said.

RWANDA - Espoir sign Buzangu as Patriots land Burundian

Jean de Dieu Ntagunduka, seen here before the league game against Espoir on Saturday, which Patriots won 64-55. (Courtesy)
Four-time reigning league and playoffs champions, Espoir Basketball Club signed point guard Patrick Buzangu from rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) on a one-year contract until the end of the 2016 season.
The 30-year-old moves from SCK where he has been for the past two seasons.
“I am an Espoir player, I signed for one year initially, and I look forward to winning big things with my new team, it’s a new challenge for me, which I cherish because Espoir is the best club in the country,” Buzangu told Times Sport.
Clarifying the reason behind his move from CSK to Espoir, he noted that, “I am leaving CSK because I needed to win the league title and I think Espoir can offer me that chance.”
The DR Congo-born star has been brought in as a replacement for former club captain Aristide Mugabe, who crossed to Patriots Basketball Club this season.
Meanwhile, Patriots have also completed the signing of Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka from Burundian champions, Urunani.
The 25-year-old won two consecutive Burundian league titles with Urunani, in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Zone V Club Championship in 2013 after they beat Espoir in the final.

08 February 2016

RWANDA - IPRC-South Defeat Espoir to Stay Top in Hoops League

Southern Province-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC-South) beat defending champions Espoir 64-55 on Saturday in Huye to maintain a pole position in the national basketball league table.
IPRC- South have now beaten Jean Bahufite's Espoir twice in the same season, with the youthful side also having upset the Nyamirambo-based giants 83-64 last November to win the preseason tournament.
Espoir took the first quarter 13-11, thanks largely to seven points from centre Bienvenue Ngandu, but the hosts bounced to claim the second quarter 18-14 and seize control of the game with a 29-27 lead at half-time.
However, upon returning for the second-half, IPRC-South, with two back-to-back 3s from Yesman Bushiri, never looked back and won the final two quarters; 21-17 and 14-11, respectively, as Didier Bineza's team handed the four-time champions their second league loss of the season.
Ngandu of Espoir scored the game high 15 points, while Patrick Buzangu added 11 points but it was the in-form IPRC-South, who had the final laugh, with Fabrice Ikishatse and Bushiri scoring 13 points apiece while captain Bienvenue Niyonsaba contributed 12 points.
Elsewhere, title hopefuls Patriots overcame UGB 76-69, UR- CASS beat struggling CSK 60-43, while IPRC-Kigali won 81-76 over Rusizi, with Cliff Owuor's APR defeating U18 Boys Team 71-65.

UGANDA - Lessons From Oilers-Silvebacks Friendly

The national men's basketball team, Silverbacks, edged league champions City Oilers 88-87 in their buildup match played Tuesday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium arena.
The match was intended to win over potential Silverbacks sponsors, Ling Long Tyres, whose president, Wang Feng, attended as guest of honor. FELIX EUPAL looks at the major talking points from the match.
Silverbacks have their work cut out
The Zone V qualifiers may still be seven months away but coach Mande Juruni has his work cut out going by how Silverbacks played. First, with all the players at his disposal, Juruni had failed to assemble a squad of 12, forcing skipper Stephen Omony to improvise by adding UPDF Tomahawks' Moses Muhumuza and Daniel Manojo.
Last year, Silverbacks only had a two-week training camp and when the season tips off, players will all be at their respective teams with hardly any national team training. So, the National Team Steering Committee has to ensure that there are more sessions when Silverbacks train as a unit.

Juruni noted that one of the challenges is getting regular playing time for home-based players in order to improve on their shooting abilities. Indeed, the shooting was suspect; of the 35 three-pointer shots attempted, Silverbacks only converted 14.
Oilers good bet for a fourth championship
For a team that has not been practicing and only has friendly pickups, Oilers stretched the Silverbacks to the maximum and they did that without Ben Komakech and Burundian forward, Landry Ndikumana, who is still away with his family.
Team manager Grace Kwizera said they will add two players to reinforce the current squad as the club bids to win a fourth straight championship title.
Drileba is a man to watch
Every season has a player that stands out with his performance but Oilers guard Tony Drileba just keeps getting better with each game. When Oilers signed him, he hadn't played for any team in the league and was a developmental project.
Gradually, they have nurtured him into a lethal project. During last year's Zone V Club Championship in Kigali, Rwanda, Drileba was the team's silent weapon, coming off the bench to terrorize opponents with his three pointers.
Now, he has garnered the courage to even take drives to the hoop through traffic and even doesn't seem fazed by pressure moments, which explains his 13 points in 17 minutes he spent on court against Silverbacks. This season he should be the player to look out for.
Sensational Omony
The veteran Silverbacks' skipper was yet again the star performer of the night, finishing with 26 points, which included six three-pointers. He led by example at Afro-basket Championship last year and could still be the kingpin this season.
However, he is at the tail end of his career with age catching up on him. Juruni should have an understudy for him; otherwise filling the dent when he is gone would be a hard task.

KENYA - Women's Premier League between USIU-A and KPA goes down the wire

Feb 08, 2016
  • Cynthia Irankunda dribbles past KPA's Brenda Angeshi in the fourth game of the play-off. The two teams will meet in the decider. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) will play out game five on Monday night to determine the 2015 Kenya Basketball Federation’s women's Premier League champion.
The best-of-five series final is tied 2-all after game four on Sunday won 66-62 by USIU-A. Last weekend, the series finished 1-1 after KPA won game one 55-52 and USIU-A won the second 63-57 in Mombasa.
KPA then led 2-1 after winning game three 73-64 on Saturday but the students leveled on Sunday. With three minutes played in the first quarter of game four, USIU-A took a 10-0 lead and stretched to a 14-point lead at 15-1 to win the quarter 24-11.
KPA won the second quarter 19-15 but it’s USIU-A who led 39-30 at halftime.
In third quarter, KPA chased the game and managed to tie scores 49-49 with 31 seconds remaining. Sarah Chan fouled Natalie Akinyi for her fourth foul and Akinyi made two free shots for the first tie of the game.
Zipporah Adhiambo then fired a three-point shot to give USIU-A a 52-49 lead going to fourth quarter. KPA won third quarter 19-13 and the students dominated the opening five minutes of fourth quarter.
Mandela leads charge
KPA took the first lead in the game with 5:51 on the clock when Annerose Mandela made a three-point shot for 60-58. Mandela had scored seven straight points from two baskets and a three-pointer to lead the charge.
However, lack of teamwork cost KPA a lot of points and USIU-A capitalized. Chan who had been rested for the first five minutes came on in the second half of the last quarter and stabilized USIU-A’s play with good rebounding.
The students regained the lead with 3:29 on the clock when Melissa Akinyi fired a three-pointer for 63-62 and they scored 3-0 to settle the scores.
Chan finished with a game high 18 points for USIU-A and Angela Okoth added 14. Mandela was KPA’s top scorer with 16 points and Yvonne Akinyi added 12.
Equity Bank finished third after beating Co-operative Bank 53-47 in the playoff. Co-op Bank led 23-20 at halftime after winning first quarter 15-10 and Equity the second 10-8. Equity dominated second half with wins of 17-11 in third quarter and 16-13 in fourth quarter.
Samba Mjomba shot over 50 percent in three quarters to top score for Equity with a game high 27 points.
In the first quarter, she shot 6/10 for the team's quarterly score, 7/10 in second quarter and 9/16 in fourth quarter. Grace Wanjiku top scored for Co-op Bank with 15 points and Celine Okumu had 12.

07 February 2016

RWANDA - Mugabe keen to lead Patriots to first hoops league title

Rusizi vs IPRC-Kigali - 9am
APR vs U18 Boys Team - 10am
CSK vs UR-Huye - 12pm
Patriots vs UGB 
IPRC-South vs Espoir 
APR vs The Hoops - 10am
UR-Huye vs Ubumwe - 12pm
Rusizi vs Espoir - 9am
APR vs UR-Huye - 10am
UGB vs U18 Boys Team - 12pm
After guiding Patriots to two titles in a space of three months, new signing Aristide Mugabe is eager to lead his side to their first league title this year as they lock horns with United Generation Basketball (UGB) on Saturday at KIST courts.
Patriots Basketball Club, which made their league debut last season, and went on to finish second, behind champions Espoir, have already won two trophies, including the pre-season tournament in November last year, and the Heroes Day tourney last week.
Mugabe, the ex-Espoir captain, was named the Heroes Day tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) after he helped his new team overcome his former employers in the final 84-72.
The 27-year-old point guard was also impressive when the two title rivals met in the league two weeks ago, which Patriots won 77-65 to take the outright lead at the top of the national basketball league table.
“I left Espoir to join Patriots because I was looking for a new challenge, and to be honest, so far so good—I have been here for a short time but I have adapted quickly to the new environment and new teammates,” Mugabe told Saturday Sport.
He added, “We have already won two trophies, but we all know that the bigger prize (league and playoffs) is still way off, nonetheless, winning two tournaments can only motivate us to do even more to achieve the main goal.”
Patriots are still unbeaten in six league games and will be seeking to extend their winning streak.

04 February 2016

KENYA - KPA's Kiki not keen on going full distance

By francis marangu
Jan 28, 2016
  • Kenya Ports Authority are at home for the first two games of the women's Premier League final play off.
Kenya Ports Authority are at home for the first two games of the women's Premier League final play off.
When Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) beat United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) to win the women's Premier League title in 2013, the series went the full distance to game five.
Last year, USIU-A was on the winning end with a 3-1 series score and both teams meet again for the third straight time in this year’s final.
The best-of-five series begins this weekend with two games in Mombasa and KPA head coach Sammy Kiki is not keen to go full length. He plans to take full advantage of the home ground court.
USIU-A defeated Equity Bank 3-2 while KPA beat Co-operative Bank 3-1 in semifinals. He closely followed the second semifinal pitting Equity Bank and USIU-A that went to game five and says they will be facing a deserving opponent.
“I respect USIU-A and believe they were better than Equity who also played very well. But coming down twice to tie the series and win was not easy for them. It shows they are a quality side,” he observed. “We expect them to give us a hard time but my target is to win both games at home and make work easier in Nairobi.
We are well prepared because the team has been training together for the past one week. I thank the management for supporting us and making sure players based in Nairobi are available on time.”
Powerful rebounding
Point Guards Cynthia Irankunda (USIU-A) and Natalie Akinyi (KPA) will be key at the back court. From their win over Equity, Sarah Chan has proven to be a pivot for USIU-A with powerful rebounding and high scoring.
Melissa Akinyi was also outstanding as well as Doreen Nyaga who did not give Equity guard Samba Mjomba an easy time. Yvonne Akinyi, Linda Alando, Evelyn Itabu, Evelyn Nora and Hellen Oketch are some experienced hands for KPA.
USIU-A head coach George Mayienga has said fatigue from playing three straight games over the weekend and traveling to Mombasa a day before game one will not affect his players. Even though he chose to keep his cards close to te chest.
Coming out of the Coastal city with at least one win will be good for the students who lost only to KPA in regular season.
The rivalry between these two teams is slowly shaping up. But, Equity has proven they can challenge the duo in the coming seasons although Kiki maintains they are the dominant teams at the moment.
“I think the best two teams have met in the final again. We were in different conferences with KPA losing one game to Equity and USIU-A lost once to us. I can say we are dominant.”
Co-op Bank will play Equity Bank in the third-place playoff on the weekend of February 6-7.

KENYA - Comeback by USIU-A in fourth quarter pushes tie with Equity to game five

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Teamwork play in the fourth quarter of game four saved United States International University- Africa from elimination as they beat Equity Bank 56-40 to force the deciding game five on Monday night.
Coming to the game at Nyayo gymnasium, Equity led the women's Premier League semifinal playoffs series 2-1 and a win would have sealed their qualification to their maiden final. It was the second time they surrendered the series lead after winning the first game.
The bankers dominated in the first half, held off the defending champions in third quarter before slowing down in the fourth and watched the game slip away.
Equity played without key players Hilda Indasi and Linda Mfuchi while USIU-A did not field Georgia Adhiambo.
The turning point was in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter when USIU-A opened the biggest lead in the game of 17 points leading 56-39.
Melissa Akinyi, Sarah Chan, Angela Okoth, Cynthia Irankunda and Doreen Nyaga coordinated play on the court that disoriented Equity’s game plan. But that was all due to their effort and hard work after chasing the game and struggling for the opening three quarters.
They took a 2-0 lead in first quarter but Equity leveled 2-2 and led 4-2. Captain Eleanor Musundi then scored six straight points from two free shots and two baskets as Equity went on a 9-0 scoring run to lead 14-2.
Equity won the quarter 16-9. Chan took control in second quarter scoring 13 points as USIU-A won 15-4 to lead 24-20 at halftime.
With 4:06 remaining, Chan scored a basket that gave USIU-A a 19-18 lead but Samba Mjomba replied for Equity for the lead to change hands 20-19 in the bankers' favor. Chan sunk a free shot to tie 20-20 before adding two more free shots and a basket to give USIU-A a four-point advantage at the breather.
Samba scored eight straight points from a basket and six free shots as Equity won the third quarter 10-8 to trail USIU-A 30-32 going to the closing quarter.
Close contest in fourth quarter
The contest was very close in the quarter. Equity took the lead with 7:40 on the clock when Samba made two free shots for 26-25. Okoth then made a free shot for the students to tie 26-26 before Chan gave them the lead with a basket and held on.
With only 20 seconds played in fourth quarter, Samba made a steal off Melissa Akinyi to score a basket and tie scores 32-32.
After a similar period, Okoth gave USIU-A the lead with two free shots but Salma Akinyi made a basket with a minute played to tie 34-34. Melissa Akinyi then gave USIU-A a 36-34 lead and the students exerted pressure to open a 17-point gap that ensured they live to fight another day.
Chan, who made three crucial blocks on Salma Akinyi, Musundi and Apondi in second half, finished with a game high 26 points for USIU-A grabbing 18 rebounds, two assists, three steals and four blocked shots.
Samba scored 16 points for Equity with seven rebounds, two assists and four steals while Musundi added 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Equity had on Saturday taken a 2-1 series lead after winning game three 62-57. USIU-A won the first quarter 17-8 and the second tied 13-13 for the students to lead 30-21 at halftime.
The bankers won the third and fourth quarters 21-15 and 20-12.  Samba who played for the entire period had a game high of 32 points for Equity and grabbed five rebounds, five steals and an assist.
Chan also playedthe full period for USIU-A scoring 26 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, six steals and blocked three shots.

UGANDA - Silverbacks win as Fuba waits on sponsorship

KAMPALA. On an occasion to showcase the game to Linglong, as Fuba chase another sponsorship deal with the Chinese tyre company, Stephen Omony shined as the Silverbacks edged City Oilers 88-87 at Lugogo on Tuesday night.
The national team captain scored a joint game-high 26 points including a buzzer beating three-pointer from downtown to close out the second quarter on an evening of 6 for 11 shooting from behind the arc. That earned him an ovation from the Chinese dignitaries that included the tyre company’s president Feng Wang and the capacity crowd at the MTN Arena, Lugogo.
The Silverbacks eventually held on for victory and a Shs1.2m cash prize despite guard Tony Drilleba’s efforts. The league champions converted five of their last six free throws including all three by Drilleba, who finished with 17 points as they trailed by one point with eight seconds on the clock.
Kami Kabange, who missed one of his final three attempts from similar range, led the Oilers with 26 points.
“The game was a success and our guests were impressed by what they saw. We now await their official response on the sponsorship deal,” Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya remarked. The federation is searching for sponsors early enough to aid preparations for the Zone V tournament later this year.
The two parties in 2014 also signed a similar agreement that saw Linglong support the Silverbacks with $50,000 (about Shs125m then) prior to the zonal tournament.

RWANDA . Patriots, Ubumwe clinch Heroes' Hoops titles

Patriots' and former Espoir playmaker Arstide Mugabe shows off his MVP awards after his side Patriots beat Espoir in the final on Monday. (Elise Mpirwa)
Monday finals
Espoir BBC 72-84 Patriots BBC
Ubumwe BBC 74-66 APR BBC
Patriots Basketball Club and Ubumwe Basketball Club in men and women categories, respectively, claimed this year’s national Heroes’ basketball tournament on Monday at Amahoro Indoor Stadium, Kigali.
Patriots, who are still unbeaten in the league after six league rounds of games, proved they are still invincible with victory against last season’s league champions and archrivals Espoir 84 points to 72 points to claim their first title in 2016.
Coach Henry Mwinuka’s side have emerged serious contenders after signing two former Espoir key players, including Elie Kaje and Arstide Mugabe, who went on to win the tournament’s Most Valuabe Player (MVP) award.
“I am very thrilled to win this award and also win this title against my former club, it is a big motivation for me and also to shows them (his former club) that I am still a winner,” said Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Ubumwe beat military side APR 74-66 points in the Ladies tournament to land their first title this year.
Both sides had a few new faces in their ranks.
This year’s tournament attracted seven clubs including Patriots, Espoir, UGB and U18 national team in the men category, while Ubumwe, APR and The Hoops participated in the women category.

21 January 2016

TUNISIA : Championship (Playoff) - Day 2 Results

Tunis, — Results of Tunisia's national basketball Championship playoff day-2 games played on Wednesday afternoon:
JS Manazeh - S. Nabeulien 70/83
ES Rades - C. Africain 75/78
ES Sahel - US Monastir 83/78
1) ES Sahel 5 2
2) US Monastir 3 2
-) ES Rades 3 2
-) S. Nabeulien 3 2
-) C. Africain 3 2
6) JS Manazeh 2 2
NB: ES Sahel was awarded one-point bonus for having finished first at the end of the first phase.

UGANDA : Hima Heathens seek to shed laboured displays

Kampala. As champions, one would expect Heathens to show up with mercurial displays week in week out. But they have looked off song this campaign so far.

They are yet to play like the side that lifted the league last year, but they have a chance to start over again when they host struggling Warriors.

“The draw against Pirates was a wake up call for us, but we are taking every game more serious,” captain Michael Wokorach told Daily Monitor.

Maximum points for Heathens will see them go top of the table as leaders Kobs play 24 hours later against Impis. But Wokorach thinks the season is still long and a lot will happen in the coming weeks.
Today at Kyadondo
Hima Heathens vs Warriors 5pm

20 January 2016

UGANDA : USPA names Kabange, Okecho Basketball Players of the Year

Kami Kabange (C) was named the best basketball player by USPA Kami Kabange (C) was named the best basketball player by USPA © Kawowo Sports / AISHA NAKATO
City Oilers’ center Kami Kabange and KCCA Leopards’ point guard Flavia Okecho were today morning voted as the best basketball players in their respective categories for the year 2015.
The pair was named by the Uganda Sports Press Association members at their monthly gathering at Imperial Royale Hotel.
Kabange led his side to their third straight league title, he was also pivotal in his side’s second place finish at the Zone 5 Club Championship held in Kigali, Rwanda.
He will also be expected to be a front runner for the MVP award when the FUBA Awards dinner is held later this month.
For Okecho, her displays with the national team in the Women’s Afrobasket championship held in Cameroon were unrivaled.
She also led her KCCA side to second spot at the Zone 5 Club championship in Rwanda to qualify for the Afro Club Championship in Angola.

UGANDA : Phenoms look to storm the NBL with a bang

Phenoms players line up before a game at UCU Phenoms players line up before a game at UCU Courtesy Photo
A year ago, Destiny Phenoms were involved in a must-win game with Uganda Martyrs’ University (UMU) Flames to fight for their place in the second division.
The Mukono outfit won the game to survive relegation and send UMU to the lowest division in Ugandan league basketball.
Fats foward, Phenoms may not have won the championship this year but they got what every team in Division I plays for - promotion to the top tier.
The real work starts now and head coach Samuel Lukaire is well aware of the task ahead of him and his charges when the 2016 season tips off.
“Like most of the promoted teams, our target will be to avoid relegation,” he revealed to Kawowo Sports.
“We can then look at building a team that can enable us compete. We shall see how to restructure the team for NBL, it is lots of work in a short time but we’ll see how it goes,” the former UCU Canons player noted.
Early preparations for the league will be paramount for the team and Lukaire with his troops are planning to start preps as early as possible.
“We are still on holiday now but we start plans early January,”
On top of trying to retain the core of the team that gained promotion, Phenoms will be tasked to bring in more experienced players to lend a hand to the likes of Peter Ssenfuka and Jonathan Obukunyango in the league endurance.
Battling with the top teams in the country won’t be Phenoms alone, their ladies’ side; Javon Ladies were also promoted to the top division and will also face the same task of fighting for their space up there

18 January 2016

ZAMBIA - Magic in National Title Hunt

FORMER national champions Matero Magic sent a strong message about their title ambitions in the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) Sprite National Championships play off with an emphatic 15-point win yesterday.
Southern zone's Matero Magic beat CEC Cavaliers from the north via a 80-65 scoreline underlining their intentions to have a run at the national championship.
CEC Cavs will hope to regroup today and make amends as the two teams square up for game-two.
In the B league, all north teams match up, Don Bosco used the home court advantage to edge Ndola Takers by a basket in a close game and that makes for a good rematch when they take to the court for game two. Don Bosco edged Takers 78-76.
In the feminine league, LCC Lootresses blew the CEC Queens away by 20 points which exposed the difference in class between the South and North region in terms of the women game.
Lootresses swept their Copperbelt hosts and they should finish their business today and head home to wait for the semi-finals that are scheduled for Lusaka.
In the other game which was at the halfway mark by Press time, the north champions CBU Robins were trailing Napsa Breeze by 13 points.
Napsa Breeze were ahead 27-14 and the Robins never looked like they would be able to erase the deficit.
By Press time, other games that were to be played involved Mansa Select against Solwezi Panthers for the B League .

ZAMBIA - Lunga Bullets Sneak Into Semis

Lunga Bullets sneaked into the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) Sprite National Championship semi-finals on point difference after they tied 1-1 with the resurgent Hawks.
But there was no sweat lost for Matero Magic after they hypnotised CEC Cavaliers at the games played at Don Bosco courts in Chingola.
Lunga were quick off the block taking game one by 20 points in the midnight match on Saturday 80-60.
The north's most dominant team was oozing with confidence going into game two but the Hawks had no intentions of lying down. They threw everything at Lunga to win game two 75-56 .
The ties were tied at a game each and Lunga proceeded by virtue of scoring one point more than their Lusaka opponents. Lunga survived after picking up 136 points against 135 for Hawks.
The battle tested Magic did not have to go into the technicalities as they swept Cavaliers in two games.
Magic won game one by a 15-point margin before picking a 35-point win in the second to underline their championship title aspirations.

NIGERIA . First Bank BC Begins Training, Signs Seven New Players

First Bank Basketball Club will begin training for the 2015/2016 season at the sports hall of the National Stadium today with 10 old and seven newly signed players with one other serving as a player for the future.
According to coach Peter Ahmedu, who made the list available at he weekend, the returning players are skipper Chioma Udeaja, Atosu Upe, Iornumbe Regina, Nkechi Akashile, Ulabo Queen, Juliet Chinyere, Elawure Odion Tina, Adekoya Biliqis, Akaraiwe Nkem and Chidinmma Nwakama
The new players, who successfully went through screening, which had 30 players in attendance, are Daniel Buki Idowu, Benin Republic import Kondoh Aishatou, Ezeh Jennifer Adaezeh, Anaswen Josette, Isuombut Mary Okon, James Happy Rita, Kato Magdalene and Akinbode James Onome Mary, who is making the team as a player of the future.
Ahmedu stated that the new players were selected based on their all-round ability on the basketball court. He noted that they were tested on their ball handling skills, offensive and defensive play, their positioning on the court and their level of stamina.
"I must admit that basketball requires lot of skills and any player who hopes to be a successful basketballer must have vast knowledge in basic skills of the game. However, a good player must also have the stamina to go all the way. Basketball demands a lot of energy and at First Bank BC, we need players that can complement their skills with stamina.

KENYA- USIU-A and Equity all square after game two

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United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) won game two of the women's Premier League semifinal playoffs 46-45 on Sunday to tie the best-of-five series with Equity Bank.
On Saturday, Equity won game one 64-57 after coming back from 29-38 down at halftime. USIU-A won 19-18 and 19-11 in the first two quarters. But, the bankers rallied in the second half to win 21-6 and 14-13.
Samba Mjomba was the top scorer for Equity with 22 points while Sarah Chan replied with 13 for the students.
OIn the second game, USIU-A overcome a poor start in first half to narrowly win and get back into contention. Head coach George Mayienga welcomed the slim but important win. “We needed any type of a win today,” he told Sports News Arena.
The first quarter was uncharacteristic of the league champions as they could not find the rim with ease. Chan was guilty of missing many attempted shots including two free shots. Angela Okoth also missed two free shots in the quarter and teamwork was lacking from the students.
Mjomba did good rebounding for Equity as they took a 2-0 lead before tying 2-2. Equity then went on a 12-0 scoring run to lead 14-2 with just over six minutes played. They had the biggest lead of 14 points at 18-4 and won the quarter 20-9.
With four minutes played in second quarter, Equity held steady to their 14-points lead at 23-9. They remained consistent after six minutes leading 25-11 then extended to 16 points at 27-11 which was their biggest lead of the quarter.
In the closing three minutes, USIU-A brought their “A” game to counter the free-scoring bankers. Cynthia Irankunda scored five points and Chan made four as USIU-A went on a 13-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to three points at 24-27.
The students won the second quarter 15-9 as Equity led 29-24 at halftime.
The turning point
Three successive turnovers from Mjomba, Denise Apondi and Linda Mfuchi in the first two minutes of the third quarter gave USIU-A the with Chan scoring four points and Georgia Adhiambo adding two. It brought the students to within a point of the bankers at 30-31.
Cynthia Irankunda then fired a three-pointer with 5:00 on the clock to tie the scores 33-33. A free shot from Angela Okoth gave USIU-A a 34-33 lead and extended to 39-33. USIU-A won the quarter 15-8 for a two-point lead of 39-37 going to fourth quarter.
Within five minutes of fourth quarter, the scores tied 42-42 after Eleanor Musundi made two free shots for Equity. Musundi then scored a basket to give the bankers a 44-42 lead but Irankunda tied 44-44.
Okoth scored a basket for USIU-A to break the tie and Equity could only manage a free shot as they won the quarter 8-7.
Mayienga said the turnaround in second half was as a result of good pressure management by his players. “We were not prepared for this one. After playing a lousy game on Saturday, the girls were under pressure. When you put them under pressure, they play badly and that was the case in first half,” he noted.
The coach added: “At halftime, I just told them to play easy and ease the pressure.”
Masaku Sparks benefited from a 20-0 walkover against Ulinzi Blades.
Co-operative Bank finished fifth in men's Premier League after beating Equity Bank 55-46 in their ranking game. Titus Musembi top scored for Co-op Bank with 11 points while Enock Ogecha scored 13 for Equity.
Blades came seventh with a 20-0 walkover against Nakuru Club.

RWANDA - IPRC-South, Patriots keep momentum in hoops league

U18 Team 57-54 Rusizi
UR-CASS 44-80 IPRC-South
Patriots 59-52 APR
UGB 78-60 Rusizi
IPRC-Kigali 56-38 U18 Team
UR-CASS 44-57 IPRC-South
Title hopefuls IPRC-South and Patriots continue to show why they are the two teams to beat in the race for the basketball league title after maintaining their winning streak over the weekend.
IPRC-South beat rivals UR-CASS 80-44 at the UR- Huye campus gymnasium as Kagugu-based Patriots overcame former champions APR 59-52 on match-day 5 on Saturday.
In a game that looked balanced and defensive in the first quarter, Huye-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre, (IPRC-South), who now have a 4:1 ratio this season, dominated all four quarters; 11-10, 25-05, 21-11 and 23-18 respectively.
Rwanda international Sunny Niyomugabo scored the game high 20 points while team captain Bienvenue Niyonsaba and Didier Ishimwe contributed 15 and 14 points respectively. Edmond Joie Igabe and Burundian Arnaud Ciza scored 16 and 12 points for Charles Mushumba’s UR-CASS.
On the other side, a victory for Henry Mwinuka’s Patriots over APR saw them stay top of the table standing with a maximum 10 points and 5:0 win ratio from five league games. The defeat also saw Cliff Owuor’s military side down to a 2:3 win ratio.
Elsewhere, United Basketball Generation registered their first win of the season with a 78-60 victory over Rusizi while U18 National Team lost 56-38 to Albert Buhake’s IPRC-Kigali.

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