23 December 2015

RWANDA - Patriots beat UR-CASS to maintain perfect record

UR- CASS 41-63 Patriots
Espoir 98-65 IPRC- Kigali
Ubumwe 72-76 IPRC- South
UR- Huye 53-51 The Hoops

Patriots Basketball Club overcame University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS), on Saturday, to increase their win ratio to 3-0 this season.
In a fully packed gymnasium of the university side in Huye District, title hopeful Patriots, who finished second, both in regular league and play-off games last season, responded well to a shaky start to win 63-41 against Charles Mushumba’s UR- CASS.
The first quarter ended 12-12 before the hosts UR- CASS grabbed a narrow 16-14 win in the second quarter to go into half-time with a 28-26 lead.
Henry Mwinuka’s Patriots turned tables up to easily win the third quarter 22-08 before claiming the final quarter by 15-13 for a full-time 63-41 emphatic victory.
UR- CASS power-forward Edmond Joie Igabe scored a game high 19 points but one-man efforts were not enough to save the day for the Huye-based side.
Point-guard Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana and forward Patrick Habyarimana scored 14 points each for Patriots.
In a post-match interview, Patriots’ Tanzanian-born coach Mwinuka told Times Sport that his side started the game a bit slow but later adjusted to eventually win the tie.
“That is the important thing,” he said.
Elsewhere, four-time champions Espoir humiliated Albert Buhake’s IPRC- Kigali in a 98-65 thriller to equal Patriots’ positive run of 3-0 win ratio.
In the women’s league, it was a day of upsets as former champions Ubumwe were stunned 76-72 by Huye-based IPRC- South while UR- CASS beat Hoops Rwanda 53-51.

22 December 2015

UGANDA - Ndejje Retain Inter-University Title

Kampala — Ndejje University sports tutor Paul Kayongo believes the hiring of professionals to train students in the various sports disciplines is the biggest reason for his institution's recent dominance of the Inter-university games.
"We believe the way to grow our athletes is by hiring professionals in every field. This is in addition to rewarding outstanding athletes. So the combination of facilitators and facilities at the school have helped us win," he explained.
The Bombo-based institution strolled to their third straight title after winning the 16th edition of the games that concluded at Busoga University yesterday.
Ndejje gathered a total of 23 medals that included 14 gold, six silver and three bronze to move to three titles, nine behind 12-time record champions Makerere.
UCU second
UCU came second with 18 medals having garnered five gold including three on the final day after one point margin wins over Ndejje and KIU in men and women's basketball respectively.
Hosts Busoga finished 13th with four bronze medals among the 19 universities that took part.
The facilities put in place for the start of the games should however have them in good stead ahead of future competitions.
Still, the headlines will deservedly belong to triumphant Ndejje.
Past Winners
Ugandan University sides
2005 Makerere
2007 Makerere
2009 Makerere
2011 Ndejje
2013 Ndejje
2015 Ndejje

KENYA - Hard-fighting KCA-U win KBF Division One title

  • Ulinzi Warriors who won the men's Premier League title will be joined by KCA University, winners of the Division One title. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) won the Kenya Basketball Federation’s Division One league title on Sunday after beating Upper Hill School 3-2 in the best-of-five playoffs final at Safaricom Indoor Arena, Kasarani.
A close 64-60 win in game five handed KCA-U the win and Sh150, 000 in cash prize while Upper Hill took home Sh100, 000. Bobby Onyango of KCA-U was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) which also had a Sh10, 000 cash prize.
KCA-U had tied the series on Saturday winning game four 63-59 after trailing 1-2.
Head coach Charles Goro appreciated the quality of their opponents who pushed the series to the wire. “Despite being young, they have been to the East and Central Africa school games thus they are a good side,” he observed.
In the game, KCA-U trailed for the whole period only to take the lead with seconds remaining on the clock and won.
“Looking at most of our games this season, we have been coming back and winning in many cases. It shows that we have depth and technical ability to compete in the Premier League next year. I will have to make few reinforcements in positions that we have been weak,” Goro noted.
Upper Hill took an early 6-0 lead in first quarter and stretched to 13 points at 25-12 winning the quarter 25-14. Their biggest lead in second quarter was 10 points at 31-21 but KCA-U won 11-8.
Leading 33-25 at halftime, Upper Hill maintained their 10 points lead in third quarter for some time but lost 18-21 to lead 51-46.
Resilient KCA
KCA-U fought back with resilience in the fourth quarter to make it a one-point game at 59-58 with two minutes to play. George Obumbo stole the show scoring two free shots with 1:43 to play and tie the scores 60-60. Obumbo then made a basket with 31 seconds remaining to give KCA-U their first lead in the game.
Bobby Onyango then scored two free shots after being fouled by Ken Duale to finish off the spectacular comeback with a 18-4 win in fourth quarter. Onyango top scored for KCA-U with 22 points while David Ouma scored 18 for Upper Hill, Isaiah Ater added 16 and Riny Riny had 11.
Trailblazers finished third position after beating Barclays Bank 48-40. Alex Oguso and Ishmael Nyamache scored 13 points each for Trailblazers while Frankline Delano top-scored for Barclays with 18 points.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) finished third in the men's Premier League with a 20-0 walkover win over Nairobi City Thunder who did not honor the game. They risk sanctions from the federation.
Fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko said; “We will take stern action against them for not showing up. We have written to them because they must give us reasons.”
KPA head coach Anthony Ojukwu is happy with the third place despite his star-studded team not giving their best. “It is not just about having the best players because failure is always a possibility. We had many challenges like having most of the players in Nairobi which we must sit down with the management and sort out before next season,” he explained.
“We lost the title in Mombasa when we failed to capitalize on home advantage and allowed Ulinzi to win two games.”

UGANDA - UCU Lady Canons champions

UCU Lady Canons players show their delight after sealing the women’s basketball league crown at YMCA. UCA overcame KCCA last night in a best-of-seven series final that lived up to its billing. PHOTO by Ismail Kezaala 
Kampala. After blowing a 21 point lead in game five, there was real worry with 25 seconds left of Friday’s game six that the UCU Lady Canons had again faltered against the KCCA Leopards.

The Canons converted one of eight free throw attempts in the final minute before eventually pulling away 71-65 to be crowned the new Pepsi-Fuba Basketball league champions.

That though was before the Leopards had clawed to within two at 67-65 before Purity Odhiambo calmed the nerves with the final points for a 4-2 series result in front of a sparse crowd at YMCA.

She finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Judith Nansobya had a game high 19 points.
“I can’t fault my players for effort because the various engagements we had over the past month took their toll on them,” KCCA coach Timothy Odeke said of the result.

His KCCA side have been dealing with injuries and fatigue having recently returned from continental duties. Martha Soigi top scored for the Leopards with 16 points with Muhayimina Namuwaya adding 12 and 11 rebounds.
In the men’s Game 7 on Wednesday, Oilers beat UCU to seal a rare hat-trick of titles in a game played before a massive crowd of fans and neutrals. Next year Oilers start as strong favourites to become the first side to win the title four years in succession.
Pepsi Fuba final
UCU Lady Canons 71-65 KCCA
(Canons win series 4-2)
Past winners of the ladies title
2015 - UCU Lady Canons
2014 - KCCA Leopards
2013 – UCU Lady Canons
2012 – KCCA Leopards
2011 - UCU Lady Canons
2010 – UCU Lady Canons
2009 – KCCA Leopards
2008 – UCU Lady Canons
2007 – KCCA Leopardampala. After blowing a 21 point lead in game five, there was real worry with 25 seconds left of Friday’s game six that the UCU Lady Canons had again faltered against the KCCA Leopards.

The Canons converted one of eight free throw attempts in the final minute before eventually pulling away 71-65 to be crowned the new Pepsi-Fuba Basketball league champions.

That though was before the Leopards had clawed to within two at 67-65 before Purity Odhiambo calmed the nerves with the final points for a 4-2 series result in front of a sparse crowd at YMCA.

She finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Judith Nansobya had a game high 19 points.
“I can’t fault my players for effort because the various engagements we had over the past month took their toll on them,” KCCA coach Timothy Odeke said of the result.

His KCCA side have been dealing with injuries and fatigue having recently returned from continental duties. Martha Soigi top scored for the Leopards with 16 points with Muhayimina Namuwaya adding 12 and 11 rebounds.
In the men’s Game 7 on Wednesday, Oilers beat UCU to seal a rare hat-trick of titles in a game played before a massive crowd of fans and neutrals. Next year Oilers start as strong favourites to become the first side to win the title four years in succession.
Pepsi Fuba final
UCU Lady Canons 71-65 KCCA
(Canons win series 4-2)
Past winners of the ladies title
2015 - UCU Lady Canons
2014 - KCCA Leopards
2013 – UCU Lady Canons
2012 – KCCA Leopards
2011 - UCU Lady Canons
2010 – UCU Lady Canons
2009 – KCCA Leopards
2008 – UCU Lady Canons
2007 – KCCA Leopard

UGANDA - Heroic Oilers can’t afford to rest on their laurels

Oilers etched themselves in the annals of basketball history as one of Uganda’s finest ever sides. photo by I. KEZAALA 
By Robert Madoi

Posted  Sunday, December 20   2015 at  02:00

Since joining the topflight, City Oilers’ status as a pillar in Ugandan club basketball has only solidified. It’s foolish not to take them seriously especially after they came full circle this past week by completing a sensational three-peat.
There was an eerily similarity between Oilers’ conquest of UCU Canons and that of Falcons in the playoff finals three years back. Both finals series needed a decider that saw Oilers admirably fray nerves in the closing frame. And there were also unlikely heroes after the final roll of the dice. Daniel ‘Najja’ Juuko in 2013 and James Okello on Wednesday. But that’s as far as the similarities got.

While the Falcons trio of Stephen Omony, Dullah Ramathan and Philip Ameny cut the picture of the Rolling Stones on one final tour, Canons players like Steven Wundi and Jonathan Egau were the very embodiment of new kids on the block. Also the fact that the Canons were first-time finalists meant that they wouldn’t have in their possession a book of ready-made questions and answers as did Falcons in 2013.

Conversely, when the unheralded Oilers took on a Falcons outfit steeped in great bas-ketball tradition, there was no prize for guessing who were the underdogs. Falcons’ know-how that had raked half a dozen titles put them in the box position. Yet they would go onto be dealt a sharp setback in a riveting finals series.

Playoff finals can be a minefield of expectations. Just ask Power who didn’t know what had hit them in last year’s finals when Oilers turned on the style. In fact, when Oilers opened up a 2-0 lead a fortnight ago, many feared that in the offing was a whitewash not to dissimilar from the one Power suffered last year. Canons, though, would go on to defy the odds by ensuring that the best-of-seven series went down to the wire.

Having been treated dismissively going into the playoff finals, the Canons will be pleased that they for once didn’t implode. Sure, they will look back with regret at those pair of missed free throws by Ivan Lumanyika in game five and the cold display during the final frame of the decider. But in a sense, they overachieved; never mind that their sheer force of will failed to carry the day.

How about Oilers then? A three-peat is a surefire way of persuading observers that things are prim and proper. That the club is a legend of our time. But the fact that they never quite found satisfactory answers to questions the Canons asked means that they will be looking over their shoulder.

Oilers now face a tricky tightrope walk between sticking with a squad that memorably won a three-peat and trying to further strengthen it. The itchiness around the decision seems to come specifically from attaching concern to the fact Power finally mustered a postseason win against them and Canons ran them close in the finals. If a dynasty is what Oilers are looking at creating, resting on their laurels should be the last thing on their minds. Some times if it ain’t broke you still have to fix it. Just ask Jose Mourinho.

20 December 2015

RWANDA - IPRC-South keen to bounce from Patriots defeat

IPRC-South vs Rusizi - 11am
APR vs CSK - 2pm
IPRC – South basketball club will be hoping that they can get back to winning ways when they host Rusizi this morning after losing to table leaders Patriots BBC last week.
The Huye-based side narrowly lost 74-72 to archrivals Patriots on Day three of the ongoing national basketball championship.
IPRC- South Coach Didier Bineza told Times Sport that his team learned from their defeat to Patriots and is confident of a win.
“This game is a must-win, we learned a lot from last weekend’s defeat. We have to show consistency, that’s what champions do, we won’t undermine the opponent,” Bineza said.
“Rusizi are a challenging team and we can’t afford a second successive defeat, we need to be extra-keen today. I am confident in my men (players) for the mission.” he added.
Elsewhere today, it will be a battle of former giants but currently struggling sides as Bob Ngoga’s Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) take on Cliff Owuor’s APR at CSK courts at 2pm.
The military side APR lost their first two league games against IPRC-Kigali and Espoir while CSK were defeated by Patriots and Rusizi respectively. Both teams will be fighting for a first win of the 2015/16 season which started on November 28.

18 December 2015

UGANDA - Why Oilers Always Win

On Wednesday night, City Oilers won their third straight national basketball league title after overcoming UCU Canons. What is more amazing is that the Oilers have never lost a play-off series since their formation in 2011. JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE assesses why they are simply unbeatable.
When the UCU Canons levelled the play-off finals series 3-3 with City Oilers on Tuesday, December 15, the momentum appeared to be with with them going into game seven the following day. The 70-58 win by UCU was belief restoring, as it was a thumping on City Oilers' ego.
A title that City Oilers had earlier seemed to be walking away with, following their earlier 2-0 lead in the series seemed to be slipping away into the hands of an evidently-pumped-up UCU. However, City Oilers bounced back to win game seven 78-67, and in the course leave the basketball fraternity wondering how they have managed to be this dominant.
Organised administration
Since winning promotion to the top-flight at the end of 2012, City Oilers has just grown from strength to strength, decimating the earlier Falcons, Power and Warriors hegemony on Ugandan basketball. Falcons is the last team to win three league titles in a row. That was in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Now City Oilers have equalled that record and seem determined to beat it too. "Of course it is our goal", said Silver Rugambwa, the manager of the team. He hastily added that above everything, their administration works pretty hard to keep the team focused and steadfast.
Normally, the mention of a top administration looks at the money bit. But the City Oilers administration is one that has been thorough on detail and specifics, which in turn has triggered a professional approach from the team.
For example, after UCU levelled the series in game six, it was clear the team was downcast and a good psychological job was needed to lift their spirits. Pointing blame fingers would have been counterproductive, yet playing into enemies' hands! Not even a review of the video of that game was delved in.
It was a capacity crowd at YMCA ground
Instead, the team was taken for a social outing, where they watched the film: Gods Must Be Crazy. The purpose was to get the team relaxed and laughing again in order to lift their spirits. This was like magic, seeing the way individuals like Ben Komakech, who have not been enjoying a good series, particularly game six, rebounded to devastating effect as UCU witnessed.
The joke going round was that the ghost of 'Koma' had returned, just like it had in 2011, when his late jump shot against Warriors in game seven took the lights out for Warriors. In addition, Komakech is probably one of the best basketball players around. And to have him, Jimmy Enabu, Kami Kabangu and Jeff Omondi, among others on their books, City Oilers has had to pay them well.
Big bucks
It is reported that they earn within a range of $400 a month, so much for the reported Shs 120 million annual budget that the management injects into this project, whose ultimate target is to be African basketball champions. This year, City Oilers competed at the Africa Zone five championship for the second time in a row, losing 76-74 to Egyptian side, Gezira.

KENYA - League title is for Ulinzi to lose

  • Ancet Wafula of Ulinzi comes up against Kevin Kigotho of USIU-A in game two of the men's plaoff. Ulinzi won and are just one game away from claiming the title. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Ulinzi Warriors are in a strong position to clinch the Kenya Basketball Federation men's Premier League title when the playoffs final enters game three on Friday night.
The soldiers who are two games up against ther opponents United States International University- Africa need a win on Friday night to bag the title. 
For USIU-A, they have to give their best and dig deep to revive title chances that have been complicated by the two losses. USIU-A lost both games in second half after holding their breath in first half.
In game one, William Ochieng and Eric Mutoro scored 25 points each to guide Ulinzi to a 81-67 win. Both teams tied 27-27 at halftime with Yoni Wanambiro scoring 14 points for USIU-A and Kevin Kigotho adding 11.
Game two was not different as USIU-A dominated in the first half only to fade in the second half. Ulinzi won 68-58 after leading 38-34 at halftime.
Wanambiro hit a three-pointer and a basket with Kigotho adding a basket for the students to lead 7-0 within three minutes of first quarter play. They then stretched their lead to 11 points at 15-4 and won the quarter 22-13.
Captain Victor Odendo who finished the half with 13 points led from the front as Ulinzi staged a comeback. In the second quarter, USIU-A had the biggest lead of 10 points leading 25-15 but Ulinzi tied the scores 31-31 with 1:40 to play.
USIU-A then led 33-31 before a 33-33 tie. Ulinzi assumed the lead at 35-33 to win the quarter 25-12. The soldiers won third quarter 17-14 to extend the lead to 55-48. Poor rebounding was the main undoing for USIU-A as Ulinzi enjoyed the biggest lead of 11 points leading 55-44.
Ulinzi pressed hard in fourth quarter to extend the lead to 14 points at 62-48 and not even successive turnovers could hand the advantage to USIU-A. The soldiers won the quarter 13-10 as Odendo top scored with 25 points. Kigotho scored 19 points for the students and Wanambiro added 15.
In division one, the series is tied at 1-1 after Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) won game one and Upper Hill won the second.
Lawrence Wandera scored 19 points in game one to help KCA-U win 62-41. Isaiah Ater had 12 points for Upper Hill and David Ouma added 11.
In game two, Upper Hill survived a late comeback by KCA-U in fourth quarter to win 62-60. From the onset, Upper Hill enjoyed the lead winning first quarter 14-9 and the second 15-13 for 29-22 at halftime.
In the third quarter, they had a 12 points lead but KCA-U fought back as Upper Hill won 18-17. KCA-U carried home the fourth 21-15 and had Victor Okello top score with 11 points. David Ouma scored 17 points for Upper Hill and Derrick Olang added 16.

14 December 2015

KENYA : KPA, USIU-A revive playoffs final hopes

  1. 1
  2. 2
Basketball fans will have to wait for at least another day to know finalists of the men premier league playoffs final that begin on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Nairobi City Thunder and Ulinzi Warriors who were highly tipped to qualify for the final lost their games.
That handed a lifeline to United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
Despite a stoppage of about two hours due to teh usual leaking roof at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium, KPA went on to beat Ulinzi 80-74 in game three and force game four to be played on Monday.
At the time of stoppage, KPA was leading 74-69 with 2:30 to play in fourth quarter. KPA started off with a 7-0 lead in first quarter and had the biggest lead of eight points at 13-5.
They went on to win the quarter 22-14. In second quarter, the dockers extended the lead to 11 points at 25-14.
Point guard Eric Mutoro then led Ulinzi’s comeback with 11 points from three three-pointers and a basket taking scores to 28-27 in favour of KPA.
The game tied 29-29 but KPA took the lead 32-29. Tiberius Menya fired a three-pointer to tie 32-32 then Ulinzi took the lead 34-32 and won the quarter 26-12 to lead 40-34 at halftime.
The soldiers continued dominance in third quarter and led by 11 points at 47-36 as KPA seemed to be falling out of contention.
KPA won the quarter 19-18. With 7:06 to play in fourth quarter, KPA took the lead 61-60 and never surrendered to the end winning the quarter 27-16.
Victor Bosire scored 16 straight points in first quarter to top score for KPA with 20 points and Evans Letting scored 20 as well including 12 free shots.
For Ulinzi, Mutoro top scored with 27 points including five three-pointers while Ancette Wafula added 23.
USIU overcome Thunder 
In the second semifinal, Thunder came into game four leading 2-1 but USIU-A held their nerves to tie the series with a 73-65 win.
They will now play in the winner-takes-it-all game five on Monday. It was not an easy win for USIU-A. Captain Kevin Kigotho scored six straight points to help the students take a 9-2 lead in first quarter.
Griffin Ligare replied for Thunder with eight straight points as the game tied 12-12. USIU-A then led 14-12 and went on to win the quarter 16-15.
Inside second quarter, the teams tied 18-18 then USIU-A led at 21-18 and Thunder at 27-25.
Thunder won the quarter 22-14 for a 37-30 halftime lead and went on the offensive in third quarter to lead by 13 points at 49-36.
Alvin Nyangweso scored eight points to lead a comeback for USIU-A, winning the quarter 20-14 and trailed by a point at 50-51 going to the homestretch.
Ligare played for seven minutes of fourth quarter with four fouls which limited his defensive play.
With 4:10 to play, the scores tied 59-59 then USIU-A led 61-59 before a 63-63 tie.
The students took the lead 65-63 and never looked back to win the quarter 22-14. Nyangweso scored 19 points for USIU-A, Derrick Juma had 15, Kigotho added 14 and Alex Ramazani had 13. Ligare scored a game high 34 points for Thunder.
KCA into Division one final  
Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) booked their place in division one final with a 55-52 comeback win over Trailblazers in game four to take the series 3-1. Trailblazers took a 9-0 lead in first quarter to win 18-9 and the second 10-9 for 28-18 at the breather.
Lawrence Wandera scored 11 points in third quarter to help KCA-U win 25-12 and take a 43-40 lead. Fourth quarter was a 12-12 tie and Wandera top scored for KCA-U with 15 points. Alex Oguso scored 22 for Trailblazers and Ishmael Nyamache added 16.
Barclays Bank pushed Upper Hill to game four in the other semifinal clash after winning game three 67-65 in overtime.
Upper Hill was a pale shadow of the team that won the first two games and never led until the closing moments of fourth quarter when they tied 57-57 through a basket from Riak Machuol with 24 seconds remaining.
In overtime, they tied again 65-65 but Isaiah Ater handed Barclays the advantage after fouling Franklin Delano with the buzzer sounding. He scored two free shots that made all the difference.
The students trailed by 20 points at halftime with scores reading 33-13. At the onset of third quarter, they went for a 10-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to 43-23.
Riny Riny made two three-pointers to help Upper Hill win the quarter 22-8. In fourth quarter, Ater scored nine points including two three-point shots for a 21-15 win but lost 8-10 in extra time.
Delano scored 8/10 for Barclays in overtime to top score with 22 points. Ater hit four three-pointers for Upper Hill to top score with 17 points; Machuol added 12 while David Ouma and Riny scored 11 each.

SEYCHELLES : Emotions run wild as Dawgz win first league title

Tears of jubilation and disbelief were shed late Saturday evening at Victoria Gymnasium where a true underdog story took place as Mont Fleuri Dawgz won their first ever league title, led by a scintillating performance from Steven André.
HotShots won the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) Cup by shooting down Anse Etoile Stars on a 57-39 score.

Mont Fleuri Dawgz beat PLS Hawks
André gave a brilliant display of passion, determination and energy as he played his heart out for his beloved Dawgz, leading his side to a well-deserved overtime 78-73 win over PLS Hawks in Saturday’s men’s mini-league final.
It was the Dawgz who started the better of the sides early on as they went on a 10-0 run before the Hawks could respond with their first basket of the day. The game was already being played at a very high intensity before it was delayed for a few minutes as rain started to splatter on the court despite measures taken.
At that point, the score was 10-4 in favour of the Dawgz. The game eventually resumed and the first quarter of play ended on a 19-13 score for the Dawgz.
The Hawks came out stronger early in the second period as they managed to close the gap to three points, but that was when André sparked to life, forcing a succession of turnovers which the Dawgz used to score 16 points in the quarter compared to 11 for the Hawks. The Dawgz took a 35-24 lead into the half-time break.
The third quarter continued much the same as the first two with the Dawgz doing just enough to increase their lead further as the Hawks tried desperately to find a solution for their opponents’ high energy plays.
However, the encounter was brought to a halt as one of the officials felt he was being threatened by a set of supporters and refused to continue with the game until police officers were sent to that particular area of the stands.
Once the game restarted about 10 minutes later, the Hawks continued to lag behind as their much-quicker opponents further increased their lead and at the end of the third quarter the Dawgz had a 15-point lead (56-41).
However, for the more experienced players of coach Heribert Derjacques’ PLS Hawks, things were not done yet. After captain Rodney Lozé fouled out with 8 minutes 51 seconds to play in the final quarter, it looked as though they were destined to lose.
But the Hawks slowly closed the gap as nerves got to the less-experienced Dawgz team whose veteran player Cyril Agrippine had fouled out, leaving them without the vast know-how and composure of the former national team captain.
The Hawks eventually managed to take the lead with six seconds to go, but the match had to go to overtime as the Dawgz equalised the scores at 66-66 from a free-throw with 0.6 seconds left.
In overtime, the Dawgz were the better side and could have taken an even bigger lead had they taken advantage of the numerous free-throws they got, but it was clear that nerves were getting to the youngsters of coach Nigel Ah-Kong.
The Hawks’ coach Derjacques even subbed himself in at the latter stages of the game, but his presence was not enough as the Dawgz held on to win 78-73 and complete a truly memorable run as they claimed the league title with André scoring a game-high 25 points.
“This victory is for the boys as they gave everything today and even after blowing a big lead. I think there was something ‘up there’ that was on our side,” said Dawgz assistant coach Roy Noël.
Surely man-of-the-match, a breathless André said: “It’s a big achievement for all the sacrifices that we have made and I don’t even have words to explain it. Personal achievements are not something I look forward to as these guys behind me are the reason we have won today.”

HotShots shoot down the Stars
In the women’s final, it was HotShots who took on Anse Etoile Stars in the final. The first quarter saw HotShots quickly establish themselves as the more organised of the two sides as the Stars were rushing too much and thus failing to make their attempts count.
At the end of the first quarter, HotShots had a 13-8 lead.
In the second quarter, things remained much the same with HotShots dominating the rebounds and using the ball well as they opened up the Stars’ defence to claim some easy baskets. The Stars, meanwhile, were unable to retain the ball as their players kept driving towards the basket only to lose the ball, rather than working plays to get in clear shots. At the end of the second quarter the scoreboard read 29-16 in favour of coach Phillip Arissol’s HotShots.
The third quarter was a low-scoring one, as the Stars produced some better plays but they could not close the gap significantly, leaving the score at 36-25 going into the final 10 minutes of play.
Things were already looking comfortable for HotShots and led by top scorer, Tina Agathine with 16 points, they managed to finish the job to win the encounter on a 57-39 score.
HotShots’ team manager Vic Tirant said: “The win for the team today is a reward for their devotion and hard work to get here. We dominated the game completely in my view, but we still need to work towards making more baskets count in our games.”

Basketball Hall of Fame 2015

Men’s Curtain-raiser: Winners – PLS Hawks
                                   Runners-up – Drifters
Women’s Curtain-raiser: Winners – Bel Air Challenge
                                        Runners-up – Mont Fleuri
Women’s League: Winners – Bel Air Challenge
                           Runners-up – Mont Fleuri
Men’s division one mini-league: Winners – Mont Fleuri Dawgz
                                               Runners-up – PLS Hawks
Women’s SBF Cup: Winners – Hotshots
                         Runners-up – Anse Etoile Stars
Men’s division two: Winners – Cascade Bullets
                           Runners-up – PTL Brothers
                            Best coach – Phillip Arissol (Drifters and HotShots)
                          Best official – Grégoire Scholastique
 Best male young player: Winner – Taryll Hall (Beau Vallon Heat)
                                  Runner-up – Atilla Cadence (Junior)
Best female young player: Winner – Sarah Rose (Mont Fleuri)
                                        Runner-up – Jinny Dorby (Cadettes)
Men’s national team’s Most Valuable player – Andrew Rath
Best female player: Winner – Veena Panagary (Anse Etoile Stars)
                                    Runner-up – Jana Malbrook (Bel Air Challenge)
 Best male player: Winner – Ron Estico (Mont Fleuri Dawgz)
                                Runner-up – Arnaud Arissol (Drifters)
 S. N.

RWANDA :ªIPRC coach hails players despite loss"

Patriots 74-72 IPRC- South
IPRC- Kigali 67-60 UGB
APR 80-48 UR- CASS
IPRC- South basketball club head Coach Didier Bineza has hailed his players for the combative mentality despite a narrow 74-72 loss to rivals Patriots BBC on Saturday at Amahoro Stadium in the ongoing national basketball league.
In what looked like a balanced and defensive game at the beginning, Henry Mwinuka’s Patriots claimed the first quarter (10-09) before dominating the second one 26-11 to go into half-time with a 36-20 lead.
Huye-based IPRC- South returned for the final two quarters visibly strong and more energetic to grab the third and fourth quarter by 29-21, 23-17. but it was not enough to save the day for the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center (IPRC) of South Province.
Point-guard Yesman Bushiri of IPRC- South scored a game high 19 points while skipper Bienvenue Niyonsaba added 13 points. Patriots’ small forward Patrick Habiyaremye of Patriots scored 16 points while Patrick Habyarimana and Ally Kubwimana netted 11 points each.
In a post-match interview with Times Sport, IPRC- South tactician Bineza said his players did all they could despite the defeat and tipped them to bounce back in next fixtures.
“Generally we played well; we will learn from this defeat and bounce back stronger for the next matches. Patriots were lucky today, my players showed a strong mentality.”
Both sides had won their respective first league games, Patriots humiliated CSK 83-40 on December 5 while IPRC- South thrashed UGB 89-45 in the opening match of the season on November 28.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Albert Buhake’s team IPRC- Kigali registered second victory with a 67-60 win over United Generation Basketball Club (UGB) after previously defeating APR 67-50 in their first league game of the 2015/2016 campaign.
In women’s league, holders APR humiliated UR- College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) (80-48) at Amahoro stadium to get off to a positive start of the title defense battle.

13 December 2015

KENYA : Trailblazers halt KCA-U's run to finals

  • Co-op Bank's Grac Wanjiku is tackled by KPA Natalie Akinyi. KPA leads 2-0. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • Barclays' Delano Frank dribbles away from Upper Hill Martin Buluma. Upper Hill lead 2-0. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • Co-op Bank's Grac Wanjiku is tackled by KPA Natalie Akinyi. KPA leads 2-0. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • Barclays' Delano Frank dribbles away from Upper Hill Martin Buluma. Upper Hill lead 2-0. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) had hoped to seal their place in the division one playoffs final and qualify to the Premier League next season on Thursday when they played Trailblazers in semifinals of game three.
A win would have granted their wish since they led the series 2-0 but Trailblazers won 47-39 for 2-1 and push the series to game four. Trailblazers was so determined to get a win that they led 21-12 at halftime after winning opening quarters 15-8 and 6-4.
A 16-10 win in third quarter gave them good cushion and KCA-U could do nothing even after winning fourth quarter 17-10. Alex Oguso scored a game high 19 points for Trailblazers with Brian Odari scoring 16 for the students.
Game four is slated for Sunday and a win for KCA-U will close the series but a win for Trailblazers will occasion game five.
Upper Hill is equally well poised to qualify after winning game two 64-52 against Barclays Bank to lead 2-0. The students took a 35-21 halftime lead with wins of 15-5 and 20-16. Barclays won third quarter 19-14 and Upper Hill the fourth 15-12.
David Ouma scored 17 points for Upper Hill and Isaiah Ater added 15 while Abel Kimondo top scored for Barclays with 10 points and Raphael Otieno added 9. Upper Hill can wrap the series by winning game three on Sunday while Barclays must win the remaining three games to qualify.
Playoffs in Nairobi resume Sunday
Playoffs in Nairobi will take a break on Saturday to pave way for Jamhuri Day celebrations and resume on Sunday. The only game on Saturday will be in Mombasa when Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) ladies welcome Co-operative Bank for game three. KPA leads 2-0.
On Sunday, KPA men’s team will be in Nairobi to try and salvage the series after going down 2-0 in Mombasa against Ulinzi Warriors.
The second semifinal will be a do-or-die affair as United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) tackle Nairobi City Thunder who lead 2-1. The slim 72-69 win by Thunder in game three showed that the series is for any team to take but Thunder has the advantage on their court.
Finals for both men's Premier League and division one will begin on Wednesday at Kasarani Indoor Arena.
Kenya Basketball Federation through fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko has warned all teams to observe the rules by having only members who are allowed on their technical benches.
He said there is nobody who will be allowed on the benches unless he or she is a FIBA certified head coach and assistant coach, team manager, doctor/physiotherapist, statistician, interpreter and the twelve players eligible to play.
Weekend Fixtures
Saturday: KPA Ladies vs Co-op Bank (Mombasa, 4 p.m.); Sunday: JKUAT vs 4-Christ (Nyayo gymnasium, 9 a.m.), Trailblazers vs KCA-U (10:30), Upper Hill vs Barclays Bank (12 p.m.), Ulinzi Warriors vs KPA (2 p.m.). Thunder vs USIU-A (4 p.m.), Co-op Bank vs KPA (Mombasa, 4 p.m.); Monday: KCA-U vs Trailblazers (Nyayo gymnasium, 5 p.m.), Barclays Bank vs Upper Hill (6:30 p.m.), USIU-A vs Thunder (8 p.m.), KPA vs Ulinzi Warriors (9.30 p.m.); Tuesday: Upper Hill vs Barclays Bank (6 p.m.), Ulinzi Warriors vs KPA (7:30 p.m.).

UGANDA : Momentum shifts as UCU Canons level final series

Brian Namake of UCU Canons (R) leaps in an attempt to block City Oilers’ Landry Ndikumana during Game 4 of the final series on Friday. photo BY Ismail Kezaala 
By Elvis Senono

Posted  Sunday, December 13  2015 at  02:00
In Summary
Basketball. UCU Canons defeated City Oilers 71-67 on Friday to level the Pepsi Fuba League final series at 2-all. Having lost the opening two fixtures, the Mukono side now have the momentum going into today’s crucial Game 5.
KAMPALA. One of UCU Canons or City Oilers will edge closer to a historic title in the Pepsi Fuba League best-of-seven final showdown with victory today at Lugogo MTN Arena.

But with the last two games decided in favour of the Canons, they should be the more confident of the two teams.
This followed Friday’s 71-67 Game Four victory that helped the Mukono side level the series at 2-2. “The real finals start Sunday (today),” coach Nick Natuhereza said after the game. The Canons used a 12-0 run after Oilers had taken a 62-54 lead in the fourth quarter before wrapping up the game 17-5 in the final four minutes of play. Brian Namake scored six points in that period, finishing with 15 points as Landry Ndikumana’s three-pointer with 36 seconds remaining moved them within three as they threatened a comeback.

It is Steven Wundi though, who led the Canons charge, the shooting guard making another game high 21 points. He is now averaging 18 in the series thus far.

“Confidence in any team would be high after winning two straight games in a final but Sunday is a day to show we are not giving up on our title,” Oilers’ Samuel Kalwanyi, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, stated.
Ndikumana scored a team high 19 points for the Oilers for whom coach Mandy Juruni will be seeking better figures from Kami Kabange, who was restricted to 12 on Friday.

There was double joy for UCU’s Natuhereza as his ladies team took a 2-0 series lead against a tired looking and injury-ravaged KCCA Leopards.

The Lady Canons won 70-56 on the night and look on track to avenge last year’s defeat to the same side.
KCCA Leopards, who recently returned from the Fiba Africa Women’s Club Championship in Angola, recovered from 3-1 to beat UCU Lady Canons 4-3 in last year’s final series.
Friday results
M: City Oilers 67-71 UCU (series tied 2-2)
W:KCCA 56-70 UCU (UCU lead series 2-0)
Today at Lugogo
M: UCU vs. City Oilers, 8.30pm
W: UCU vs. KCCA, 6.30pm

RWANDA : Hoops league: Espoir eye big win against APR

Rusizi vs CSK 9am
Espoir vs APR 10am
The Hoops vs Ubumwe
NATIONAL Basketball League defending champions Espoir are optimistic on recording a big victory over APR when the two archrivals face-off on Sunday at Amahoro indoor stadium.
The 2010 champions APR will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 67-50 defeat at hands of Albert Buhake’s IPRC-Kigali and register first league of the season. The military side will also be seeking for first win against Espoir in regular league since 2011.
On the other hand, the Nyamirambo-based Espoir, who won the league’s opening game 89-65 over University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR-CASS) two weeks ago are in upbeat mood for another win on Sunday, according to interim coach Maxime Mwiseneza.
“For us every game is a must-win, that is the target we set ourselves at the start of each season, so we will into the game against APR, looking to win,” Mwiseneza told Sunday Sport.
In a separate interview, APR’s Kenyan trainer Cliff Owuor has challenged his youngsters to up their game against the four-time reigning league and playoffs champions as they seek to avoid a second successive defeat following their loss against IPRC-Kigali last weekend.
The two local giants met in semi-finals of the preseason tournament two weeks ago, and Espoir won 75-70.

10 December 2015

UGANDA : UCU Canons pull one back against City Oilers

Ivan Lumanyika (15) showed out for UCU Canons in Game 3 © Kawowo Sports / AISHA NAKATO Ivan Lumanyika (15) showed out for UCU Canons in Game 3
City Oilers 52-69 UCU Canons (Oilers lead series 2-1)
UCU Canons defeated City Oilers 69-52 on Wednesday night to revive their hopes of clinching their first ever league championship.
The Canons started the game like wounded lions with their transitional offense yielding dividends as they took the first quarter 25-12, the defending champions then stepped up in the second and Jeff Omondi’s 3-pointer at the buzzer cut UCU’s lead to 10 points going into halftime.
Whereas Oilers tried to get back into the game in the third quarter, they barely plated in the last period of the game managing just 6 points.
Omondi, Jimmy Enabu and Kami Kabange who have been Oilers’ main offensive options all had a nightmare of a game mainly due to UCU's zonal match-up defense.
Enabu and Kabange got into foul trouble early in the game and this limited their minutes on the floor while Omondi didn’t start the game but even when he stepped on, he didn’t offer that much.
Steve Wundi had a game high 24 points while Ivan Lumanyika added 19 points and 10 rebounds to hand UCU their first win in the finals.
The two sides will meet again Friday at YMCA in game four of the seven-game series.

08 December 2015

UGANDA : UCU Lady Canons date KCCA Leopards in epic final

KCCA Leopards line up before the game regular season opener against A1 Challenge at Lugogo Courtesy Photo KCCA Leopards line up before the game regular season opener against A1 Challenge at Lugogo
Wednesday, December 9
KCCA Leopards vs. UCU Lady Canons 6:30pm, Lugogo
Even before the start of the season, one would not bet against having a KCCA-UCU final. The two sides are meeting in their fifth straight final and have looked miles apart from their counterparts in Uganda’s premier ladies’ league.
With KCCA Leopards returning from the Africa Club Championship where they finished 11th out of 12 teams, the ladies’ finals will finally tip off tomorrow before the men’s Game 3 at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium
For a side that has competed in the Zone V Club Championship and the Africa Club Championship while Lady Canons rested, some levels of fatigue will be expected on KCCA side.
The Leopards lost just one game in the regular season (against UCU) as they trounced their finals opponents in two of their three meetings.
Injuries to Becky Akullo, Joy Chemutai and Monica Siima’s illness are some of the concerns for head coach Timothy Odeke.
“The fatigue is there but we hope we'll have rested a bit by tomorrow,” Odeke revealed in regard to his team’s shape going into the seven game series.

UGANDA UCU Canons optimistic ahead of Game 3 | NBL Playoffs Finals

Ivan Lumanyika (L) Brian Namake (14) have got to step up offensively for UCU in Game 3 to help Steven Wundi (5) © Kawowo Sports / AISHA NAKATO Ivan Lumanyika (L) Brian Namake (14) have got to step up offensively for UCU in Game 3 to help Steven Wundi (5)
Wednesday, December 9
City Oilers vs. UCU Canons 8:30pm - Lugogo (Oilers lead series 2-0)
UCU Canons will be playing their 4th game in nine days tomorrow night when they take on City Oilers in their best of seven finals series.
The Mukono side trail the defending champions 2-0 and will be hoping to pull to within one game of leveling the series.
“We are definitely still in it, we just have to polish some areas,” Boniface Okello, who boasts of four NBL rings revealed to Kawowo sports.
“We have a good team but maturity is key is a series like this one, we are all looking forward to the game tomorrow,” he added.
The Canons have looked fatigued in their last two games and are playing against a much rested Oilers side that ran through their semifinal series with a 3-1 win over Power.
On top of the fatigue, some of the UCU players are now required to balance both books and basketball as they sit their end of semester exams.
The weary performances put up by Jonah Egau, Innocent Odur and Ivan Lumanyika have limited UCU’s offensive options to just Steve Wundi (13.5 points per game) and Desmond Owilly (18 points per game) in the finals.
UCU are appearing in their first ever final while Oilers are in their third straight final since being promoted to the top flight division in 2013.

07 December 2015

KENYA : Ulinzi Warriors gun down champs KPA to lead playoffs

Dec 07, 2015
  • KPA's Hellen Oketch shields the ball against Co-op Bank's Belinda Okoth in the women's playoff in which KPA leads 2-0. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Ulinzi Warriors has defied home court advantage to take a 2-0 series lead against hosts Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Mombasa.
The men's Premier League semifinal playoffs game will now head to Nairobi for games three, four and five in case the series goes to full length.
Ulinzi will need a win in game three to proceed to the final for the second year running while KPA must win all the three games to progress.
On Saturday, the soldiers won game one 85-77 and came out 87-81 winners in game two on Sunday.
At the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium, Nairobi City Thunder took control of the second semifinal 2-1 after winning game three 72-69 against United States International University- Africa (USIU-A).
After a balanced contest, Griffin Ligare won it for Thunder from the free-throw line in the last seconds of the game.
After the lead had changed hands severally in short intervals inside fourth quarter, Shem Otieno made a steal off Derick Juma with a minute to play and scored to give Thunder a 68-66 lead.
Alex Ramazani then fired a three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining for USIU-A to lead 69-68 but fouling cost them heavily. With 33 seconds to go, Juma fouled Ligare who made two free shots for a 70-69 lead.
Ramazani then fouled Ligare with 17 seconds remaining and the resultant two free shots sealed the win.
The game tipped off with USIU-A taking a 2-0 lead and led again at 4-3, 13-11 and 15-11 before taking home first quarter 19-13. Thunder led only once at 3-2 with ties of 11-11 and 13-13.
Thunder led 38-35 at halftime
The students continued their dominance into second quarter and opened up an 11-point lead at 28-17. Thunder fought back to take the lead at 33-32 before the game tied 35-35. Thunder surged ahead 36-35 to win the quarter 25-16 and lead 38-35 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Thunder maintained a 10-point advantage over USIU-A leading 45-35, 47-37 and 50-40. USIU-A then went on a 10-0 scoring run to tie 50-50 with only 20 seconds remaining. Thunder led 51-50 but tied 51-51 to close the quarter that USIU-A won 16-13.
The students had a setback after key player Joel Ntambwe was disqualified with two technical fouls and will now miss games four and five. Thunder won the fourth quarter 21-18 after leading for four times at 55-54, 58-57, 64-63 and 68-66.
USIU-A led for four times as well at 54-51, 57-56, 63-62 and 65-64. They tied once at 66-66. Ligare scored 18 points for Thunder while Alvin Nyangweso top scored for USIU-A with 14 points, Ntambwe had 13 and Kevin Kigotho scored 12.
Thunder scored 18 points from the three-point line and 23 from free shots with USIU-A scoring 24 from three-pointers and 19 from free shots.
In the women's Premier League, KPA leads Co-operative Bank 2-0 after winning game two 63-43. Point guard Grace Wanjiku scored six points to lead the bankers to a positive start with a 8-0 lead after five minutes of play in first quarter.
She finished the quarter with eight points as Co-op Bank won 12-11.
The second quarter was closely contested with KPA winning 15-12 for a 26-24 halftime lead. KPA had their first lead at 13-12 and stretched to 17-12 before Co-op Bank came back to tie 17-17.
Mercy Achieng who scored eight points in the quarter played a crucial role in helping the bankers put a good fight. They took a 19-17 lead and made it a 5-point game at 22-17 but KPA rallied back to tie 22-22.
The bankers then led 24-22 but KPA led at 25-24 again. Co-op Bank lost it all in second half as they allowed KPA to break away. Angela Namirimu and Wanjiku scored four points each as the bankers lost third quarter 8-18 to trail by 12 points at 32-44.
KPA's biggest lead
KPA won the fourth quarter 19-11 and had the biggest lead of 27 points at 63-36. Wanjiku top scored for Co-op Bank with 17 points while Natalie Akinyi scored 13 for KPA, Evelyn Itabu had 12 and Hellen Oketch scored 11.
Both teams made three three-pointers with KPA scoring 16 points from free shots against eight for Co-op Bank.
Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) beat Trailblazers 55-46 to lead 2-0 in division one semifinal playoffs. George Obumbo and Brian Ondari scored 15 points each and Lawrence Wandera added 12 to steer KCA-U to the win.
Nelson Kisia top scored for Trailblazers with 13 points and Katimwa Christopher added 12.
In the second semifinal, Upper Hill leads Barclays Bank 1-0 after winning 69-64. David Ouma scored highest for Upper Hill with 16 points while Riny Riny and Isaiah Ater scored 15 each. Franklin Delano hit four three-pointers to top score for Barclays with 23 points.

KENYA : Resilient Tigers claw Thunder to draw play-off

Dec 06, 2015
  • Kevi Kigotho was the outstanding player for USIU-A who tied the playoffs 1-1 with Nairobi City Thunder.
Having lost game one 55-66, United States International University - Africa (USIU-A) Tigers needed to win the second and level 1-1 to have a realistic chance of making it to the final.
They did by beating Nairobi City Thunder 81-69 in an exciting match at the Nyayo Stadium indoor Gymnasium on Saturday.
It was an end to end match that saw Thunder commit costly mistakes. The first quarter was evenly contested. When the Tigers scored, Thunder roared back.
Ultimately, the latter ended up taking the quarter 16-13. But it all went awry for them in the second quarter when Tigers minimized their mistakes in possession and improved on their reaction to rebounds.
The big man Kevin Kigotho was doing most of the work picking the ball under the rim and Thunder found it hard to keep to the pace. Griffin Ligare who had a blistering game in the first game on Friday night was hugely subdued.
He was closed down by at least two players whenever he had the ball and was only reduced to 17 points in the entire match. The outstanding point guard had to be substituted midway through the second quarter to give him a breather as Tigers clawed back to a 36-31 score at half time.
Upon resumption, Thunder tried to tidy up their act and pushed the ball with more ease as the third quarter began managing to reduce the gap to at least four points.
Thunder tried spectacular shots
But, they got a bit over themselves, trying out spectacular shots and three pointers with their opponents meaning business and going for simple lay ups for points whenever they won possession. With Tigers taking a 59-50 lead heading into the last quarter, the game livened up.
Thunder believed they still had the match but the students were resilient, Joel Ntambwe being one of their best players as he went on to sink 20 points for his side
In the first game, Kenya Ports Authority edged out a resilient Co-op Bank 57-54. The bankers opened an 11-points gap coming into the third quarter to push the game to within three baskets by the time the quarter ended.
They put up their A game in the final quarter and with eight minutes of play remaining, had pushed the game to within half a basket, the scores being at 46-47 in favor of KPA. Belinda Akoth was particularly influential for Co-op with her height, picking up the balls easily under an army of KPA back liners.
With 4.37 on the clock, KPA had a slim 51-49 lead and this prompted their coach to call for a time out. It worked as KPA came back stronger and stretching their lead to 57-51. But the game was to have a nervy ending as Co-op pushed to within four points.
But with 20 seconds left and the arrow on their favor, KPA called for a timeout and on resumption just swung the ball around to wind down the clock and pick the first series win.
Sunday fixtures: Eldonets vs 4-Christ (10 a.m., UG), ANU vs JKUAT (9 a.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Barclays Bank vs Upper Hill (10:30), KCA-U vs Trailblazers (12 p.m.), KPA vs Co-op Bank (2 p.m.), USIU-A vs Thunder (4 p.m.).

KENYA . Thunder strike USIU-A Tigers at Nyayo

  • Griffin Ligare scored 22 points as Thunder beat USIU-A in the first game of the KBF men's Premier League playoff at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium on Friday. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Griffin Ligare was in red hot form as Nairobi City Thunder beat USIU-A Tigers 66-55 in game one of the semi-finals of the Kenya Basketball Federation play offs at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium on Friday night.
Thunder commanded the game from start to finish and as they head for game two on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium indoor gym expects to witness fireworks.
Ligare, speaking to Sports News Arena after his sterling performance said the side is aiming at finishing the game off at game three as they aim for their first ever KBF play off final berth.
“It is going to be a lot of pressure if we let the series go until game five. We are determined to finish it at game three but first we have to take it a step at a time. Today we played very well despite a few mistakes, but it was very important we start with a win,” Ligare stated.
The point guard sunk 22 points for his side, in a game that started on a slow pace as the two sides struggled to cope with the dim lighting at the gymnasium. For two and a half minutes, none of the two sides scored a basket.
But when they switched gears, it was Thunder who moved the fastest. Thunder pressed and hunted in packs of three whenever they lost the ball and their fitness levels were evident from their agility in the quarter covering every length of the court.
They won the first quarter 18-12. Thunder continued with the same tempo in the second quarter, this time doing much of the damage on the first break especially with USIU-A losing simple baskets and failing to win the rebounds.
Thunder took the second quarter 17-14 for a half time score of 35-26.
Fought like hungry tigers
At the beginning of the third quarter, the students from Thika Road fought back like hungry tigers. They   tidied their passing and fast breaks, pressing Thunder to uncomfortable levels.
Alvin Nyangweso in particular was a pillar in USIU-A's second half resurgence and they managed to squeeze a 15-all score at the end of the quarter and an overall 50-41 score going into the last quarter.
USIU-A Tigers sensed the game was within their grasp and as a result exerted more pressure to narrow the gap  to within two baskets of Thunder at 53-49.
The fight back by USIU-A Tigers prompted the latter’s coach to call a time out with 6:50 minutes played on the clock.
The little breather paid dividends and Ligare once again eased away from USIU-A sinking six points in quick succession to restore a comfortable lead.
Tigers appeared to have lost hope of catching up again and Ligare had the final nail on their coffin, winding the clock down on the left and with no one interested in shutting him down, he looked up at the rim, thought of a three-pointer and said why not, the net trickling down in ecstasy.
“The job is not yet done, we have to give respect to USIU-A because they are a good side and very competitive. We need to improve on our five-on-five play and ensure we play with more intensity,” Ligare added.
Goro unimpressed despite win
In the earlier match, Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U) won their first Division One semifinal, beating Trailblazers 68-50 to lead the series 1-0. KCA-U coach Charles Goro was  unimpressed despite the win.
KCA-U lost the first quarter 14-17 but bounced back in the second which they won 18-7.
In the second half, the students slowed the pace and Trailblazers cut off the lead winning the third quarter 20-17. But, KCA-U replied by taking the fourth quarter 19-06.
“I think we did not start well because maybe the pressure of the play offs is getting into the players. But we have seen our mistakes, gotten some confidence and hopefully we play better in game two. Our defense leaked a lot today especially with penetration from the centre and it is something we are looking to correct,” Goro told Sports News Arena.
Saturday: KPA vs Ulinzi (4 p.m., Mombasa), Co-op Bank vs KPA (6 p.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Thunder vs USIU-A (8 p.m.); Sunday: Eldonets vs 4-Christ (10 a.m., UG), ANU vs JKUAT (9 a.m., Nyayo gymnasium), Barclays Bank vs Upper Hill (10:30), KCA-U vs Trailblazers (12 p.m.), KPA vs Co-op Bank (2 p.m.), USIU-A vs Thunder (4 p.m.).

UGANDA : Natuhereza stands out for UCU

From Jason Mehl to Robert Mugabe to Nicholas Natuhereza. From one set of brothers, Mugabe and Geoff Omondi, to another of Ivan Enabu and Jimmy Enabu.
The brothers’ path never worked. So, UCU Canons turned to Sudi Ulanga. For four years, the Tanzanian guard was handed the responsibility of delivering the final.
Desmond Owili played an able sidekick top Ulanga though often let down by his temperament that resulted in lengthy ban two years.
During eight years of hurt, six of them ending in semifinal failures, Natuhereza was only a footnote, even a detriment to some.
It’s not Mehl or Mugabe who delivered the final, eliminating KIUT Titans 3-2 in the semifinals last week, a flawed Natuhereza did, his abrasive character notwithstanding.
“Actually, Jason sent me a message before and after the (decisive semifinal) game,” the 31-year old coach, often known for his confrontational-but-detrimental approach, told Daily Monitor.
On paper, this is not the most talented team UCU has ever assembled having lost Ulanga to Tiger Head Power at the end of last season.
Arguments can be for the 2005-2007 and 2011-12 teams as the best the university managed.
Neither made it this far, often choking when the final came calling.

“I have received lots of messages of congratulations from everyone especially former players but they should now stop,” Natuhereza, coaching for a fifth season, said.
“The previous were good but this had more togetherness. There is character and leadership unlike before.”
The curse is gone and the unheralded Mass Communication graduate has the right to write the history of the war.
UCU league record
*2007: Led 1-0 but lost 2-1 to Falcons in semis (LOST)
*2008: Led 1-0 before losing 2-1 to Power in semis (LOST)
*2009: After forcing a Game 5, Warriors beat UCU 3-2 in semis (LOST)
*2010: Survived relegation as coach Robert Mugabe looked lost
*2011: Trailed 2-1, forced a Game 5, before losing 3-2 to Warriors in semis (LOST)
*2012: Won their first series, beating Power 2-1 in the inaugural quarterfinals (WON)
*2012: Led 2-1 but lost 3-2 to Warriors in the semis (LOST)
*2013: After losing Game 1, went down 2-1 to Falcons in quarterfinals (LOST)
*2014: Came from behind to beat Falcons 2-1 in the quarterfinals (WON)
*2014: UCU took a 2-0 lead in the semis against City Oilers and lost 3-2 (LOST)
*2015: Let 2-1, before KIU took them into Game 5, UCU prevailed 3-2 (WON)
*2015: Lost Game One of seven-game final series to City Oilers

RWANDA : Ciza stars as UR-CASS beat Rusizi in hoops league

UR-CASS 65-31 Rusizi
CSK 40-83 Patriots
APR 50-67 IPRC- Kigali
ARNAUD Tresor Ciza scored 19 points to inspire University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) beat Rusiz BBC 65-31 in the national basketball league on Sunday in Huye.
The Burundi-born forward Ciza and power-forward Edmond Joie Igabe (11 points) scored 30 points between them while team captain Aubin Bizimana, who did not have a good game, scored 7 points. Emmanuel Nishimwe was Rusizi’s top scorer with 11 points.
Charles Mushumba’s UR-CASS, who lost the league’s opening game 89-65 to defending champions Espoir last weekend, dominated the game and claimed the first quarter 11-8 and the second 14-4 to go into half-time with a 25-12 lead.
Rusizi, returning to the league after a year’s absence, lost the last two quarters 16-12 and 24-7 to get off to a false start to the 2015/2016 season.
“I feel honoured to guide my team this win, I am looking forward to more such performances ahead. Consistency is key, we need to keep the momentum and try to win every game,” Ciza told Times Sport.
On Saturday, last season’s first runners-up, Patriots defeated Rugunga-based Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 83-40 at NPC gymnasium while Albert Buhake’s IPRC-Kigali humbled former champions APR 67-50 at the same venue.

06 December 2015

UGANDA : Holders Oilers draw first blood in final

Oilers forward Kami Kabange makes a jumper on UCU’s Owili. PHOTO by Ismail Kezaala  
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

Posted  Sunday, December 6   2015 at  02:00
In Summary
Basketball. In the semifinals, Omondi shot a defiant 7 of 9 from downtown for 23 points in a 90-88 Game Two overtime loss to Power. He is firmly the x-factor now.
Kampala. City Oilers blew a 19-point lead before holding off a courageous UCU Canons to take 1-0 lead in the seven-game Pepsi Fuba League playoff finals with an 89-85 victory on Friday.

The Lugogo MTN Arena could have emptied at halftime when the two-time defending champions took a 52-33 lead.
Oilers’ sixth successive victory over UCU was turning into an ugly procession. Memories of last year’s 4-0 rout of Tiger Head Power were hovering over the place. UCU, playing their first finals, seemed to suffer from either stage fright or fatigue or both, their five-game semifinal series against KIU Titans having only finished on Wednesday.
From a state of anesthesia, they delivered a monstrous third period only to fall short of delivering the knockout blow. Led by centre Desmond Owili’s game-high 21, six rebounds and three assists, and forward/guard Brian Namake’s 21, five and four, UCU took that quarter 31-13.
Superb Namake
Namake, the de facto leader, was perfect on the charity converting all his nine attempts.
It’s that kind of resilience that should force many to return to the same venue this evening for Game Two.
That will make it three games in six days for UCU. Friday was Oilers’ first game in a week having brushed aside Tiger Head Power 3-1.

“Yeah, that’s tough,” UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza said.
The emperor was being stripped by an apprentice. Playing stun defence, UCU kept Kami Kabange to 13, Landry Ndikumana, Samuel Kalwanyi and Jimmy Enabu to 12 apiece.

You could argue that Kalwanyi impact off the bench that included nine rebounds was a huge building block. But, there is no doubt that the match winner was Geoff Omondi.

The ex-Canon scored 19 on a 5 for 7 shooting beyond the arc to keep UCU at bay. “He is really shooting the ball well,” his coach Mandy Juruni said.

In the semifinals, Omondi shot a defiant 7 of 9 from downtown for 23 points in a 90-88 Game Two overtime loss to Power. He is firmly the x-factor now.

It’s something Natuhereza can hope to find in Steven Wundi whose 12 points came off 3 for 8 shooting in 32 minutes as centre Ivan Lumanyika struggled with foul trouble for a second successive postseason game.
ANBL final
City Oilers 89-85 UCU
(Oilers lead 1-0)
UCU vs Oilers, 8pm
KIU vs Power, 6pm
KIU vs A1, 4pm

RWANDA : APR, IPRC-Kigali lock horns in hoops league

Cliff Owuor speaks to his players during last season’s playoffs series against Patriots. (Sam Ngendahimana)
IPRC-Kigali vs APR 10am
CSK vs Patriots 12pm
UR-CASS vs Rusizi 10am
IPRC-Kigali and APR will be seeking for a positive start when the two square off in their first game of the season in the national basketball league on Saturday at the National Paralympics Committee gymnasium at Amahoro stadium.
APR, who are looking for their first league title in six years, have strengthened their squad with new players during the transfer window and head coach Cliff Owuor is confident this is time for his young guns to shine.
The Kenya-born trainer said, “It is high time we start winning trophies, I have been building this team for six years now and I’m convinced we are up to standards.”
“We’re a big club and so we should be title contenders every season, the task for this season starts on Saturday (today) against IPRC-Kigali,” he added.
IPRC-Kigali technician Albert Buhake admitted how tough it will be against the former champions, but insisted his side can overcome anyone in the league.
The Kicukiro-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali are the only side who managed to beat reigning league and playoffs champions Espoir in last season’s regular league.
Elsewhere, today, Rugunga-based Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) will be up against title hopefuls Patriots at the same venue. Patriots will be under new head coach Henry Mwinuka. The Tanzanian took over from Cyrille Kalima, who stepped down last week, citing work-related commitments.
The 2015/2016 season kicked off last weekend with two games. Holders Espoir beat UR-CASS 89-65 while IPRC-South overcame United Generation Basketball Club (UGB) 89-45.

04 December 2015

UGANDA : City Oilers vs. UCU Canons finals preview

UCU Canons' Brian Namake goes past City Oilers' guards Jimmy Enabu (L) and Ben Komakech  Photo Credits: Daily Monitor UCU Canons' Brian Namake goes past City Oilers' guards Jimmy Enabu (L) and Ben Komakech
City Oilers vs. UCU Canons 8:00pm, Lugogo
On five occasions they had been knocking and the door banged at them. Even when it seemed like they had a foot in, they were not as strong to make the final push.
Finally, they have crushed the door and the UCU Canons are in the National Basketball League Playoffs finals for the first time.
The buzz among the players, coaches, faithfuls and neutrals alike was visible from Wednesday night when they ejected KIU Titans in a blow out.
However, there's no time to celebrate making the maiden finals as the seven game playoffs finals start tonight at Lugogo.
UCU's coach, Nick Natuhereza knows the finals appearance is not enough and they are going for it but admits it's a tough challenge they are up against.
Ofcourse it's going to be tough because we are playing against the two time defending champions but we are ready for the challenge
With no time to recover from the five game stretch with KIU most of it their making, Natuhereza hopes that doesn't affect his charges going into Game 1.
"You can't rule it (fatigue) out but I hope it doesn't affect us"
How will UCU turn out?
The Canons are probably the best transition team in the league. The university side enjoys scoring on transition using the athleticism of the youthful players from the guards to bigs.
In the two blowout victories over KIU, the Kansanga based team's transition defense was bleeding with their inability to balance the court and keep up with the pace of UCU.
The speed with which UCU turn their defense into offense will give City Oilers trouble especially if it's the guards who will break away.
With the presence of bigs Desmond Owili, Ivan Lumanyika and the young Fadhili Chuma off the bench, UCU have an option of going down to pound Kami Kabange, Landry Ndikumana and Samuel Kalwanyi.
In the young guard, Steven Wundi, Canons have someone who can cook from deep. Wundi I'd an effective player in the half court and if Lumanyika, Owili and Chuma can set the 'catch and shoot' guard a couple of screens, he will be a silent weapon. Point guard, Innocent Odur could also get Canons points from down town.
"We will try and get him (Wundi) a couple of shots" Natuhereza said.
In Jonathan Egau, UCU have got an effective secondary scorer. The guard-forward's ability to drive to the hoop and an occasional 3-point shot may go along way in helping Canons.
"He has improved a lot since he got here and gets better every year. He gives us something different every year." Natuhereza said of Egau.
Outside of Ndejje's Walker Obedi, no coach in the league plays zone defense as much as Nick Natuhereza.
In fact Natuhereza will prefer his zone defense against City Oilers who in Kabange and Ndikumana have the smartest bigs in the league.
Natuhereza will set up his zone to keep Oilers' bigs away from the basket. However, if Ben Komakech, Jeff Omondi and Jimmy Enabu connect from the 3-point line, the Canons may be forced out of the zone.
How UCU switch defenses will be key in limiting arguably the best team in the league coached by the best coach in the country.
"It will come down to how we play on defense. If we play good defense, we will give ourselves a chance" Natuhereza told Kawowo Sports.
How will Oilers turn out?
City Oilers probably have the most offensive options of the two sides. The back-to-back champions can score on transition, go down to their bigs or have Komakech and Omondi score from 3-point range and occasionally from Enabu and Daniel Jjuko.
Kami Kabange, the Oilers' first offensive option may find it tough to work from his office against UCU whose interior defense is quite solid.
However, key to Oilers offense is the passing ability and patience of the team that gets players open for shots and easy looks at the basket.
Without doubt even if UCU lock the interior, Oilers will find a way of unlocking it. In Landry Ndikumana, Oilers have a big who can do a little bit of everything with the ball and comfortable inside out. The Burundian may draw Lumanyika or Chuma outside and with the occasional 3-pointer that he practices every night under the dim lights of the KIU court, Ndikumana could be a real thorn in UCU's flesh.
Jimmy Enabu gives Oilers the pace with his quick feet and long hands. The MVP's drives to the basket may unsettle UCU's defense and earn him a few trips to the line.
The maturity and experience of Ben Komaketch and Jeff Omondi may give the defending champions an edge on the back court offensively.
Any coach would naturally direct their defensive strategy at limiting Lumanyika and Owili as well as their provider Innocent Odur. Kami Kabange, Ndikumana and Samuel Kalwanyi will have to stand some pounding at the post if Owili and Lumanyika get into their groove.
Oilers' court balance on offense will be key to making defensive stops on UCU's transition.

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