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KPA and Equity have mountain to climb in play-offs semis

Friday November 22 2019

KPA's Natalie Akinyi (left) is guarded by Equity Bank guard Annerose Mandela during their Kenya Basketball Federation Women Classic Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on July 13, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

KPA's Natalie Akinyi (left) is guarded by Equity Bank guard Annerose Mandela during their Kenya Basketball Federation Women Classic Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on July 13, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NTION MEDIA GROUP

CAXTON APOLLO
By CAXTON APOLLO
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Defending men and women’s basketball Premier League champions Kenya Ports Authority and Equity Bank will on Saturday face an acid test in bid to retain their titles when they play tricky play-offs semi-final matches in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Women’s Premier League champions Equity Bank will lock horns with much-improved newcomers University of Nairobi’s Dynamites in Game One of the best-of-five series play-offs semi-final.

The match is scheduled for Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium at 4pm.

On the other hand, men’s reigning champions KPA will host traditional rivals Strathmore University Blades in a tight Game Two of the semi-finals at KPA Makande Gymnasium from 4pm.

The dock men, who won Game One 86-73 in Nairobi last weekend, will still enjoy home court advantage in the remaining Game Three, Four and Five.

In another high profile women’s semi-final showdown, coach Abe Nson’s Storms will host former 12-time champions KPA in Game One starting at 2.30pm.

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Game Two is slated for Sunday at 4pm. Action will later shift to Mombasa where KPA will host Storms in the remaining three matches at their backyard.

The main focus will be on coach Juma Kent’s Dynamites, who will be facing champions Equity Bank in their first ever play-offs semi-final. Dynamites, who were promoted to the women’s Premier League this year after 25 years, locked out Zetech University 2-0 on the best-of-three series quarter-final.

The varsity students had sailed into the play-offs after were seeded fourth in the regular season with 37 points. Dynamites are poised to shake the bankers because as newcomers, they have kept their approach secret.

Consistent scorer centre Vallery Kemunto, point-guard Liz Okumu and shooting guard Faith Atieno have been delivering goods for Dynamites and still remain as key actors when they take on experienced Equity, who had beaten them twice in the regular season.

Dynamites coach Juma Kent said, “Reaching the semi-final is a big achievement as newcomers and we have gained confidence to meet experienced opponents without pressure.’’

However, coach David Maina’s Equity Bank had the best record of the league in this year’s regular season finishing top with 43 points to easily qualify for the play-offs.

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