Mohammed Amin| NATION Co-op Bank’s Peter Kiganya lets go a pass during Kenyan Basketball Federation League action in the regular season at the Nyayo Gymnasium. Kiganya put in a man-of-the-match performance with a game-high 30 points as Co-op rallied to beat USIU Tigers in Game 1 of the best-of-three quarter-final series at the same venue at the weekend.
Co-operative Bank had to struggle from behind to edge out hard-fighting Tigers of the USIU-A 70-65 in a tight Game One of the play-off quarter final at the Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium at the weekend.
Tigers had to throw away victory in the last 40 seconds after they had enjoyed lead from the word go. Co-op Bank were left struggling with most of their key players failing the click at the hour of need.
However, the lucky bankers rose from the dead to lock the scores 65-65 throwing the charged tie wide open.
Having enjoyed a huge 36-26 half-time lead, the students suffered a big setback when their four top players were ejected by top Fiba referees Juma Kent and Joseph Amoko.
Tigers’ foul trouble was to coach Carey Oketch’s advantage as Co-op Bank used the physical forward Peter Kiganya to force himself into the ‘D’ area to score. Hell broke lose for Tigers as Co-op Bank’s man-of-the match Kiganya shot them up at 67-65.
Guard Abel Nson, who was not effective from start turned out a hero,when he sunk a killer basket as the bankers fans celebrated their first 67-65 lead.
Tigers trouble started when Neville Odhiambo, Harrison Omondi and Pappillion Odhiambo were ejected after Aron Chan had worked so hard to keep the fire burning. Tigers had built a nine points margin (55-44) in the last quarter be fore the banker’s super star Eugene Genga started causing havoc.
Tigers have a tall order to beat Co-op Bank with a six point margin to realise their dream of qualifying for the best-of-three series semi-final.
The students, who meet Co-op Bank in the return leg this weekend, were rated seventh in the regular season with 32 points. Kiganya sunk game-high 30 points while Michael Makiadi shot 11 for the winners with Chan replying with 25 and Evans Leting 15.
Sprite Storms are a game up after a narrow 42-36 win over Strathmore University in women’s play-off tie. Strathmore, who had beaten Storms 47-31 in the first leg, were still determined to cause havoc locking the duel 33-33 in regulation time.