28 November 2006
KENYA : Ulinzi Re-Write Basketball History
Ulinzi Warriors re-wrote the history of basketball in Kenya after they edged out Co-operative Bank basketball Team 84-83 in overtime to win the Premier League title for a record 5th consecutive time. Shooting guard Ancette Wafula was on fire for Warriors from tip-off, bagging 11 points as they took the first quarter 24-17. Warriors maintained their offensive attack on Co-op come the second quarter through Wafula, John Apollo, Simon Mugambi and Richard Osano, who came off-the-bench to score 11 points, as they took a 48-34 lead. After the break, Co-op turned the tables around through Peter Kiganya, Francis Odari, Wycliffe Ochieng, John Waruru and George Kamau, taking the third quarter 22-12, and the fourth 20-16, tying the game at 76-76 after a George Kamau basket with two seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime. The tension packed overtime saw a determined Co-op side cheered on by the mammoth crowd tie the game twice, 81-81 through Kamau, and 83-83 through Odari. However, their celebration was cut short by Apollo as he sunk the winning free-throw as time ran out. Ancette Wafula scored game high 30 points while Apollo added 16 points and Osano 16 for Warriors. Peter Kiganya led Co-op with 29, John Waruru 14, Furaha Odari 12 that included 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Ulinzi Warriors, under Coach Eliud Nzioka, were level with Co-operative Bank as the only two teams to ever win the championship Four times after last years win. Now they are in a class of their own.
Meanwhile, sources revealed to AlsaBasketball that John Apollo is contemplating retirement. The forward, who has been with the armed forces side for almost a decade, will have chosen a better time to do so, especially after he sunk the winning free-throw that earned his team a fifth consecutive Championship.