Sport

Ulinzi Warriors storm play-offs semis

Ulinzi Warriors storm play-offs semis
  • The Eastleigh-based soldiers, coached by William Balozi, had squeezed a narrow 80-78 victory over hard nut to crack Lakeside in Game One in Kisumu
  • Last year, Ulinzi Warriors battled from two games down to eliminate Thunder 3-2 in the semi-finals
  • Thunder rallied from behind to defeat Eldonets 82-50 in Game Two to lock the series 1-1

Ulinzi Warriors became the first team to qualify for this year's basketball men’s Premier League play-offs semi-finals when they demolished Lakeside 94-63 at Nyayo Gymnasium on Saturday night to sweep the best-of-three series.

The Eastleigh-based soldiers, coached by William Balozi, had squeezed a narrow 80-78 victory over hard nut to crack Lakeside in Game One in Kisumu.

Lakeside, had sneaked into the play-offs after finishing in eighth position.

The Saturday night duel saw the top seeded Ulinzi assemble all the ammunition with shooting guard Eric Mutoro and forward James Mwangi hitting the Kisumu-based Lakeside hard.

Ulinzi raced to a huge 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter to sound an early warning.

The late night match was watched by a big crowd who braved a two-hour delay to witness a rampant Warriors in action.

Ulinzi again outscored Lakeside 26-10 at end of second quarter to head into the break with healthy 23-point lead.

Mutoro, who scored game high 29 points and Mwangi with 20 points haul, were behind Ulinzi's 20-17 and 28-23 runs in the third and fourth quarters that kept their lead intact and assured the win.

Coach Balozi said: "We are used to training in an indoor court which gave us a big advantage as compared to the outdoor in Kisumu. We need to work hard on boxing out as we wait for the winner between KPA and Blades in the semi-final.”

Last year, Ulinzi Warriors battled from two games down to eliminate Thunder 3-2 in the semi-finals.

In another men's Premier League play-offs quarter-final on Saturday evening, Thunder rallied from behind to defeat Eldonets 82-50 in Game Two to lock the series 1-1.

Thunder had lost 53-63 to Eldonets in Game One in Eldoret. The two sides were scheduled to clash in the decisive Game Three on Sunday evening.

Shooting guard Griffin Ligare and forward Kevin Chogo each scored 17 points for Thunder, who led 35-21 at half-time.

In men’s Division Two, Baobab Blazers qualified for the semi-final after knocking out KCITI 2-1 following a 65-61 Game Three triumph on Sunday.