24 November 2013

KENYA : Co-op Bank win record eighth League title

  • Co-operative Bank of Kenya on Friday retained the national classic league men premier title after sealing a 3-0 series win over Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, at the Kasarani gymnasium.
    It was a bitter ending for the Dockers who had a good run in the regular season finishing top in the 12-teams league.
    They had hoped to win their first title since 1991 when they last won but could not match the tempo of their experienced opponents.
    Friday's win was Co-op Bank’s eighth overall title to become the most successful side in the league and was their fourth straight after winning in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
    The performance matched the earlier achievement in 1995 when they won for four consecutive seasons until 1998.
    Ulinzi Warriors is the second in achievement having won the title six times while Lions are four times champions.
    In this year’s playoffs final, KPA qualified as the hot favorite having beaten highly-rated Lions 3-0 in the semifinals while the bankers had a comeback 3-1 win over USIU-A. Co-op won games one and two 88-72 and 74-64 and had an upper hand going to the third game.
    James Mwangi wins MVP
    Prior to the finals, head coach Carey Odhiambo had promised to take the series without conceding a game and this dream was realized after his side beat KPA 85-72 on Friday.
    Odhiambo retained his coach of the year award he won last year while James Mwangi was named the most valuable player.
    “I am very excited because that shows what am capable of doing,” said odhiambo. The bankers endured a poor start going down 18-23 in the opening quarter but came out strongly in the second to win 23-13 and lead 41-36 at the breather.
    A dominant 24-9 win in the third quarter for Co-op Bank made matters difficult for KPA who had to win game three to avoid early elimination.
    Winning 24-18 in the fourth quarter could not salvage fortunes for KPA. Odhiambo termed the just concluded season as the most competitive for his side.
    “This was a very tough season because we started poorly losing the opening match against Thunder. The champions spirit saw us recover and finish in the top four bracket from where we took it over in the playoffs.” He laughed off claims that his side beat an inexperienced opponent saying any team reaching the finals is a competitor.
    USIU finish third
    “They did not fall into the finals from nowhere. They beat other teams to reach there so the notion that they lacked experience can't be true.”
    USIU finished third after outclassing Lions 75-62 in their classification match played Saturday. The students trailed 19-31 at halftime and a spirited comeback saw the David Maina team secure a podium finish.
    Both teams slipped one position from last season when USIU finished second and Lions third. Division One champion will be known on Sunday when Equity Bank and Strathmore University play in game five.
    Both teams are tied at 2-2 and the decider will determine who lifts the crown. Equity won game one 54-43 but Strathmore won games two and three 56-46 and 69-65.
    The bankers leveled the series with a 80-55 win in game four. Kenya Airports Authority, KAA, has already secured the third spot after edging out Kenyatta University Pirates 67-62 in their classification match.
    Weekend Results: Co-op Bank 85 KPA 72, KU Pirates 62 KAA 76, Lions 62 USIU Tigers 75, Strathmore University 55 Equity Bank 80.

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