Ulinzi Warriors left it late before hitting stubborn Thunder 123-106 in Game Two of the MadGoat National Classic Basketball League play-offs final at the Nyayo Gymnasium on Thursday.
This explosive and dramatic Game Two which went into two overtimes saw Ulinzi Warriors tie the series 1-1 going into Game Three of the best-of-five series slated for Friday 6pm at the same venue.
"We are now wounded and will not let them win any other game as we seek to reclaim the trophy we won two years ago," said Ulinzi Warriors head coach William Balozi.
Thunder coach Sadat Gaya blamed lapses on his defence for the loss but has promised to make amends in Game Three.
Just like Game One which was dramatic and won by Thunder 75-73 at the death, Ulinzi were leading 86-83 before Griffin Ligare's tray from beyond the arc sent the game into overtime tied at 86-86.
The soldiers took control of the first five minutes of overtime with Victor Bosire, who had a good afternoon, scoring the first four points for a 90-86 scoreline but Kevin Chogo, Ligare and Ancett Wafula ensured Thunder led 102-99 with 12 second left.
A three-pointer from Bosire with five seconds left saw the soldiers draw level at 102-102 forcing the second extra time.
There was however tension at the end of the second extra time when the referees blew the final whistle with Ulinzi forward William Ochieng going for a layup which he successfully converted and could have given the soldiers a 104-102 win. A dispute ensued forcing the match officials to retreat and review the MadGoat TV replays before directing that the game goes into the third extra time.
It is then that Ulinzi overpowered a jaded Thunder side whom they pressed for quick baskets to seal the big win.
Victor Bosire (37 points), Eric Mutoro (24) and John Washika (22) were Ulinzi's leading marksmen while Kevin Chogo (30), Faheem Juma (20) and Ligare (18) were Thunder's top scorers.
Ulinzi led 19-14 in the first quarter but went into the break trailing 39-40 in this game that saw Thunder control the boards with 43 points against Ulinzi' s 40.