Thunder will bolster their rebounding power as they take on rivals Ulinzi Warriors in a tough Game Two of the men's Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League play-off final at Nyayo Stadium Thursday 4pm.
Head coach Sadat Gaya Wednesday said, "We need to strengthen on rebounding, lay-ups and free-throws for us to win Game Two."
Thunder, who are seeking to win their first ever Premier League title, defeated Ulinzi Warriors 75-73 in a tight opening Game One of the best-of-five series on Tuesday night.
Ulinzi coach William Balozi said, "We cannot afford to go down 2-0 after losing concentration and throwing away the lead in the last nine seconds. We are now fully prepared to avenge the defeat and lock the series 1-1."
Balozi said they need to box out and tighten their defence to win Game Two at all costs.
Ulinzi started off well in Game One in which they took control until in the dying seconds. Thunder, who had trailed in the entire proceedings, locked the duel 71-71 with nine seconds to go. Thunder scored two critical free-throws to celebrate their first lead at 73-71.
Dangerous shooting guard Eric Mutoro run riot from the first whistle, sinking early 15 points which included three-three pointers as the soldiers took a 20-17 lead at the end of first quarter. Ulinzi led comfortably 39-33 at the breather.
Shooting guard Griffins Ligare, who sunk 20 points, hit a crucial three-pointer which guaranteed Thunder victory as the buzzer went up 75-73. Last year, Thunder squandered a 2-0 lead to allow Ulinzi to come from down to eliminate them 3-2 in the semi-finals.
The two top teams finished in the first and second position in regular season to avoid meeting at an early stage of the play-offs until in the final. They shared points in their first and second leg matches.
Thunder rallied from behind to knock out Emyba 3-1 in the semi-finals while Ulinzi, who are seven-time league champions, eliminated champions KPA 3-1 to sail into the final.
Thunder, who are out to write history by becoming the first self-supporting team to lift the league title, will have captain Ancette Wafula, forward Kevin Chogo and Faheem Juma leading their charge.
Ulinzi, who will be under pressure, will line up scoring shooting guard Mutoro, captain Victor Bosire, forward James Mwangi and Joseph Khaemba. Game Three will be played on Friday at 7pm and Game Four on Saturday from 4pm.
In the women's Premier League play-offs final, Kenya Ports Authority will host champions Equity Bank in Game One and Game Two in Mombasa on Saturday and Sunday.
Equity Bank beat newcomers Dynamites 3-0 in the semi-finals while KPA knocked out Storms with a similar score.