Rivals KPA, Ulinzi Warriors face off at Nyayo

By: CAXTON APOLLO

The men’s basketball Premier League champions Kenya Ports Authority will tackle Ulinzi Warriors in their last inter-conference tie Friday evening as this year’s regular season concludes at the Nyayo Gymnasium.

The match has no significance as both teams have already qualified for the quarter- final play-offs whose opening Game One of the best-of-three series matches begin at the same venue on Saturday.

KPA have grabbed the second position in the Eastern Conference with 40 points where Co-op Bank top with 43 points.

The dock men, who will meet Western Conference’s fourth-rated USIU-A Tigers in the play-offs, can only increase their points tally to 42 should they upset the Warriors.

Warriors on the other hand have emerged winners of the eight-team Eastern Conference with 42 points with one game at hand. Blades are currently second with 40 points after having won 17 matches and lost six.

The William Balozi-coached Warriors will be out to outdo rivals KPA, who denied them the title last year.

KPA beat Ulinzi Warriors 3-1 in the play-offs finals to lift the crown after 23 years of waiting. The soldiers are expected to parade Victor Odendo, scoring machine Eric Mutoro and Ancette Wafula in their bid to dismiss the reigning champions as a morale booster before the play-offs.

After losing two away matches in Nairobi last weekend, KPA coach Anthony Ojukwu is expected to rely on Martin Kitonga, Tobias Onyango and Victor Bosire as they look to fend off their rivals.

In the women’s Premier League regular season closing matches, Co-op Bank will take on Strathmore University in their inter-conference tie starting at 5pm.

Co-op Bank, who lost 3-0 to USIU-A Flames in last year’s play-offs semi-final, are already through to quarter-finals after scooping the second spot in the seven-team Western Conference.

Strathmore have also qualified for the top four in the Eastern Conference after grabbing the third position with 32 points.

Men’s Premier League top four play-offs qualifiers are; Co-op Bank, KPA, Thunder, Equity Bank (Eastern Conference), Ulinzi Warriors, Blades, Nakuru Club and USIU-A Tigers (Western Conference).

STRATHMORE OUT

In the mid-week matches, Strathmore University failed to qualify for the men’s play-offs despite registering a 48-31 victory over Zetech University in their return leg match.

Strathmore fell short by one point as they finished in fifth position with 35 points. Equity Bank advanced to the quarter-finals after they narrowed finished fourth with 36 points.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION