Thunder hope to storm Equity Bank in Game Three
- Coach Collins Gaya’s Thunder, who were finished third in the regular season with 33 points, had a strong start, beating Equity Bank 70-59 in Game One
- Celebrated point guard Griffins Ligare, forward Kevin Chogo and Nathan Terry have always been behind Thunders victories and qualifying for the semi-final lies in their hands
- Former Co-op Bank’s no nonsense forward Kevin Kigotho, stylish guard Titus Musembi and Irungu Maina are the men to watch on the Bankers' side
Thunder will lock horns with rivals Equity Bank in a decisive Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League playoffs quarter-final Game Three match at the Nyayo National Stadium Indoor Gymnasium on Tuesday 6pm.
The teams are tied in the best-of-three series 1-1 and this cracker will separate them and determine who qualifies for the playoffs semi-final.
Interestingly, this is the only men’s quarter-final playoffs match which entered Game Three. The other men’s play-off qualifiers whitewashed their opponents in Game One and Two to sail into this year’s semi-finals on a 2-0 basis.
Coach Collins Gaya’s Thunder, who were finished third in the regular season with 33 points, had a strong start, beating Equity Bank 70-59 in Game One.
But Equity Bank, ranked sixth on the table standings with 31 points, refused to go down easily, shocking Thunder 71-61 in Game Two on Saturday.
Thunder were knocked out 2-0 by Ulinzi Warriors in last year’s playoffs quarter-finals and cannot afford to bow out again at the same stage this season.
Equity Bank, on the other hand, were also shown the door 2-0 by Kenya Ports Authority, who later won the 2017 crown.
Tuesday's crucial tie is difficult to predict because both teams are eyeing to advance and write history by winning their first league title in a competition which has been dominated by giants Co-operative Bank, Ulinzi Warriors and Kenya Ports Authority.
Celebrated point guard Griffins Ligare, forward Kevin Chogo and Nathan Terry have always been behind Thunders victories and qualifying for the semi-final lies in their hands.
Equity cannot be underrated by virtue of being ranked sixth in the regular season.
They showed their fighting spirit when they battled from a game down to lock the series 1-1, a result that stunned Thunder.
Former Co-op Bank’s no nonsense forward Kevin Kigotho, stylish guard Titus Musembi and Irungu Maina are the men to watch on the Bankers' side.
Other than Tuesday's fixture, the Premier League's men's and women’s quarter-final playoffs matches have had little excitement with five teams easily eliminating their opponents with two consecutive victories.
Men’s and women’s league champions KPA teams, former men’s champions Ulinzi Warriors, Strathmore University's Blades, Equity Bank and Storms women’s sides hardly broke sweat in advancing into the semi-final with clean 2-0 sweeps.
KPA, who were top seeded with 39 points, as expected, defeated eighth-rated USIU-A Tigers 63-52 in Game Two at their KPA Makande Gymnasium backyard on Saturday. The Dockers had won Game One 69-55 in Nairobi.
Ulinzi Warriors rocked Umoja with a huge 37 points margin, 85-48, after having registered a 56-34 victory in Game One also to sail trough.
Blades resisted pressure from rivals Kenya College of Accountancy-University as they rallied from down 19-20 at half-time to win Game Two 54-47 to reach the semi-final.
KCA-U had a strong start leading 13-7 at the end of first quarter as the duel looked headed for a 1-1 tie.
Storms, a team rated third in the regular season of the women’s Premier League, eliminated Eagle Wings 2-0 to reach the four-team semi-finals.
After having won Game One 59-40, coach Abel Nson’s refined Storms were confident to sent Eagle Wings packing humiliating them 80-56 in Game Two on Saturday.