Champs Equity Bank storm play-off semis

Monday November 27 2017

Equity Banks players, from left, Esther Butali, Brenda Wangui , Hilda Ndegwa and Samba Mjomba pose for a photo in Luanda where the Fiba Africa Champions Cup for women is being held. PHOTO | FIBA AFRICA |

Equity Banks players, from left, Esther Butali, Brenda Wangui , Hilda Ndegwa and Samba Mjomba pose for a photo in Luanda where the Fiba Africa Champions Cup for women is being held. PHOTO | FIBA AFRICA | 

By CAXTON APOLLO
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Champions Equity Bank sounded an early warning as they booked a ticket to this year’s Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League women's play-offs semi-final at Strathmore University, Madaraka at the weekend.

Equity Bank, who beat Kenya Ports Authority 3-2 in last year’s play-offs final, easily eliminated Eagle Wings 2-0 in the best-of-three series quarter final match.

The bankers set the ball rolling with a 50-23 victory in Game One on Saturday. On Sunday, it was all systems go for Equity Bank, who again punished Eagle Wings 46-32 in Game Two, to wrap up the series 2-0.

Eagles Wings, who had finished seventh in the regular season with 24 points, were to win Game Two at all cost to take the series to a deciding Game three.

Equity Bank led by guards Samba Mjomba, Hilda Indasi and Hilda Ndegwa, raced a 18-14 half-time lead and outscored Eagle Wings 16-4 in the third quarter.

Forward Mercy Wanyama sunk 10 points for Equity, who relaxed their game allowing Eagle Wings to lead 14-12 at end of fourth quarter.

Equity Bank made the top eight teams for the quarter finals after finishing second to former champions KPA in the regular season with 34 points.

Equity, who took part in the Fiba Africa women’s Club Championship in Luanda, Angola, won 16 matches and lost two in the 10-team regular season top league.

In the men’s Division One play-offs, Barclays Bank had veteran Abel Kimondo scoring a game-high 13 points as they rocked Eldonets 51-44 in quarter final decisive Game Three to qualify for the semi-final.

Barclays had won Game One 90-74 in Eldoret, but their opponents came to Nairobi breathing fire wining Game Two 66-34.

After the best-of-three series tied 1-1, it forced Game Three to determine the winners. Barclays Bank put pressure on Eldonets from the first whistle to race to a 26-21 half-time lead.

Big man Tambo Nangoli fought hard for Eldonets, who went down 9-11 in the third quarter, but managed to squeeze a narrow 16-12 lead at the end of fourth quarter.

Experienced Collins Ochillo scored game-high 24 points, as Emyba ended Blazers celebration in the men’s Division Two league play-offs by locking the series 1-1.

Emyba needed overtime to beat Blazers 66-62 to throw the semi-final slot wide open. The two battling teams are locked at 1-1. Both teams were up 58-58 and Game Three will now separate them to determine the winner.

It was a neck-to-neck affair from the word go as the two teams locked the scores 18-18 in first quarter.

Emyba had an edge over their opponents leading 38-35 at the break. Blazers led by veteran Eugene Genga squeezed a narrow 12-10 fourth lead, but with game tying scores 58-58 in regulation time.

Emyba outshined Blazers 8-4 in over-time to force the decisive Game Three.

Footprints were guaranteed a place in the women’s Division One league play-offs final after sending home rivals Africa Nazarene University 3-0 in the semi-final. Footprints won Game Three 53-38 on Sunday. They had earlier won Game Two 61-45 and Game One 46-35 respectively.

SUMMARIZED RESULTS:

Men: Barclays Bank 51 Eldonets 44, Blazers 62 Emyba 66, Co-op Bank 48 Umoja 59. Women: Equity Bank 50 Eagle Wings 23, Footprints 61 ANU 45, Footprints 53 ANU 38.