19 November 2014

KENYA : Ulinzi Warriors and USIU-A Flames lead the charge to playoffs

By francis marangu
Nov 18, 2014
  • Magnifique Nguze of USIU-A and Pauline Okech battle for possession in a league match. USIU-A Flames finished top of the log and face Safe Spaces in the playoff. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Ulinzi Warriors and United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) basketball teams have topped men and women premier leagues respectively as the 2014 regular season came to a close over the weekend.
Only two games are remaining in men premier pitting Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) against Nakuru Club and Mennonite. Even with that, the playoffs begin this weekend with the best-of-three quarterfinal games.
Ulinzi finished with 58 points from 28 wins and two loses just a point above defending champions Co-operative Bank who won 27 games and lost three. Ulinzi is now prepared to reclaim the title they last won in 2006.
William Balozi, the Ulinzi head coach will be banking on consistency as they play Lions this weekend in the first game. “We worked really hard this season which was my main aim as the coach,” he said.
The coach added: “In regular season, we were playing every team but for playoffs its one team. We have seen them play, we have their statistics and Ulinzi is ready for the battle.”
The coach maintained Lions was a worthy opponent having started off the season on a low to make it to the playoffs. “They recruited well and we expect a tough challenge from them. Whether they are a threat to us or not, I can only say that after the first game is over.”
Lions finished eighth with 46 points having won 18 games, lost 11 and forfeited one.
The soldiers won their last game of the season 119-57 against Blazers on Saturday as Victor Odendo scored 35 points and Joseph Ngoshi 24. Second-placed Co-op Bank will play seventh-placed Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) who have 46 points from 16 wins and 14 losses.
KAA lost their last game 51-58 to KPA on Saturday. The dockers also beat Strathmore University 85-79 and Nairobi Aviation College 74-54.
Head-to-head determine top team
USIU-A who are third and KPA on fourth might trade positions depending on how the dockers perform in their remaining games. KPA are four points behind the students and if they win the two games, both teams will have 55 points with head-to-head record determining the podium finisher.
Subject to the outcome, they will play either Strathmore University or Blades who are fifth and sixth respectively.
USIU-A, last year's losing finalist ruled the women's premier league with and iron hand. They have 43 points having won 21 games and lost once. In the playoffs quarterfinal, they will play Safe Spaces who finished eighth with 30 points from eight wins and 14 losses.
At the weekend, USIU-A beat Strathmore University 82-33 in their last game while Safe Spaces lost 41-67 to Sprite Storms.
Defending champions KPA came second with 42 points from 20 wins and two losses and play Ulinzi Blades. The soldiers were seventh with 31 points from 11 wins, 10 losses and one forfeited game. KPA won 49-19 against Mennonite and 97-22 over Western Delight in their last games over the weekend.
Storms and Eagle Wings will confront each other in the quarterfinals. Eagles were third on the log with 39 points from 17 wins and 5 losses as Storms came in sixth on 35 points from 13 wins and 9 losses.
The toughest matchup will be between fourth-placed Strathmore University and fifth-placed Co-operative Bank. Both teams tied on 36 points from 14 wins and eight  losses but Strathmore came top after beating the bankers at home and away in the regular season.
In division one, Zetech University who finished top with 56 points will play Trailblazers. Umoja will be up against Upper Hill while Lakeside and Dankind Academy pair up.
The other fixture has Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) up against World Hope.
This weekend's games will be played at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium, Makande gymnasium in Mombasa and Kisumu Sports Ground.
KBF League weekend results
Friday: Terror 67 Strathmore University 81, Nairobi Aviation College 54 KPA Men 74.
Saturday: KPA Ladies 97 Western Delight 22, Sprite Storms 67 Safe Spaces 41, Ulinzi Warriors 119 Blazers 57, KAA 51 KPA (Men) 58, Nakuru Club 58 Mennonite 55.
Sunday: ANU 0 Barclays Bank 20, Eagle Wings 72 Western Delight 38, USIU Flames 82 Strathmore University 33, Blades 67 Equity Bank 59, Strathmore University 79 KPA (Men) 85, Mennonite 19 KPA Ladies 49.
Playoffs, Quarter finals fixtures
Men: Premier League; Ulinzi Warriors vs Lions, Co-op Bank vs KAA, USIU-A/KPA vs Strathmore University/Blades; Women: USIU-A vs Safe Spaces, KPA vs Ulinzi Blades, Eagle Wings vs Sprite Storms, Strathmore University vs Co-op Bank; Division One: Zetech University vs Trailblazers, Umoja vs Upper Hill, Lakeside vs Dankid Academy, KCA-U vs World Hope.

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