Former champions Co-operative Bank on Saturday made bright their chances of qualifying for the competitive Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s Premier League play-offs, beating Umoja 51-31 at Upper Hill School outdoor courts in Nairobi.
Co-op, who denied Umoja all the four points this season, having won the first leg 77-40, moved to second on the 12-team table with 27 points. With 12 wins and three losses, the bankers are behind leaders Ulinzi Warriors, who have 31 points from 15 wins and a loss to Umoja.
Sunday’s Warriors-Zetech University match was put off as students are on vacation.
The top six fight for the play-offs slots are hotly contested between Warriors, Co-op, USIU-A Tigers, Umoja, Blades and champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
On Saturday, Co-op returned after a two-week break with a comfortable 14-4 first quarter lead. A cracked defence cost Umoja, who are chasing their first play-offs slot following their promotion this season, seeing them lag 13-3 in the second quarter.
Co-op, under coach Carey Oketch, led 27-7 at the break. Umoja’s top scorer Nick Ogol, who nailed 12 points, was on fire in the third quarter but Co-op still went up 12-8. Umoja won the last quarter 16-12.
The towering James Mwangi finished the game with 10 points for the winners.
Co-op had lost 67-63 to KPA in Nairobi before the league took a two-week break.
In the men’s Division One League, World Hope remained focused on the top six, eyeing a lower-tier play-offs slot. They secured a 66-63 win over coach Emmanuel Ochieng’s University of Nairobi’s Terrorists.
Conrad Wafula scored 15 points for World Hope, who dislodged fellow varsity students Kenyatta University Pirates from fourth position with 26 points.
KU’s Pirates, who did not have a match yesterday, dropped to the fifth spot with 25 points from nine wins and seven losses.
In the men’s Division Two League, Eugene Genga hit a game-high 10 points as Blazers demolished newcomers NIBS 70-27 to up their points tally to 27 and remain second behind Emyba, who edged out Little Prince 48-47. Emyba have 28 points with 11 wins and six losses.
Today’s six matches at the same venue were called off by the federation because most of them were involving MKU Thika and Zetech University teams whose students are currently on vacation.
Co-op Bank 51 Umoja 31, Blazers 70 NIBS 27, World Hope 66 Terrorists 63, Emyba 48 Little Prince 47.