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Kenya Ports Authority to take on local rivals Equity in AWBL quarters

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Action between KPA and Sporting. PHOTO/FIBA
Action between KPA and Sporting. PHOTO/FIBA
  • KPA lost their final group match to Egypt’s Alexandria
  • Equity beat Overdose of Cameroon via a buzzer beater
  • The semis are set for Sunday evening  

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will take on local rivals Equity Hawks in an all Kenyan quarter final at the African Women’s Basketball League quarter finals Sunday, after both sides booked slots in the last eight.

The national league champions KPA made the semis after finishing second in Pool A, following their final group match loss to hosts Alexandria Sports Club, while Equity made the quarters after finishing third in their group, after a last gasp win over Cameroon’s Overdose Up Station.

KPA and Alexandria, who faced off in the final of last year’s Africa Zone Five Championships, squared up in the final group game in Pool A, but it was the hosts who would walk away with victory and top spot in the group unbeaten with a massive 102-77 victory.

Cierra Dillard had a game high 20 points for Alexandria, as four more players in the roster recorded double digit points.

Cierra had a double double of 20 points and 12 assists while Hagar Amer had a double double of 17 points and 13 rebounds for the home side.

Rita Aluoch led the way for Kenya with 12 points and 14 rebounds while Victoria Reynolds recorded 15 points, the highest count in the Kenyan side.

Knew it would be a tough group 

Action between KPA and Sporting. PHOTO/FIBA

Action between KPA and Sporting. PHOTO/FIBA

“Since the draw, we knew this would be the toughest match of the group stage as KPA have good players and are well-coached so we have been preparing for this. We had a good start to the match and our offense really worked well and that gave us an advantage early on,” said Alexandria’s coach Mohamed Abdelrahman.

His opposite number, Anthony Ojukwu, admitted that they fell short against the home girls.

“It was a bad day in the office for us. We tried to adjust after the first quarter but we could not recover from the first quarter dent. We have a chance to redeem ourselves in the quarters and we plan to come back stronger,” Ojukwu said.

The Egyptians put up a commanding display in the last five minutes of the opening quarter, where they won the game with a 24-0 scoring run to completely outwit the dockers.

The subsequent quarters saw KPA work to reduce the gap, but it was too little too late and despite outscoring Alexandria in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t big enough to warrant a turnaround.

Meanwhile, their counterparts Equity needed a three-point buzzer beater to see off Overdose 76-73. With two seconds to play and scores tied at 73-73, Judith Pantaleo picked up an assist from skipper Melissa Atieno before sinking from downtown to give the bankers victory that assured them of a last eight slot, as third place finishers.

Pantaleo with a buzzer beater 

Equity Hawks celebrate their won over Cameroon's Overdose. PHOTO/FIBA

Equity Hawks celebrate their won over Cameroon’s Overdose. PHOTO/FIBA

Pantaleo had put up a superb display in the game with a double double of a game high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Three more Equity players, skipper Melissa, Betty Kananu and Malu Grace also recorded double digit scores.

Kananu had a double double of 17 points and 16 rebounds, also playing a crucial role in the victory.

“This was an amazing win for the team. The resilience and peace of mind the team had to inbound the ball quickly and go for that final shot shows how the young players have grown into the championship,” said Equity coach Ben Oluoch.

He added; “We shot the ball well on threes and took leads but down the stretch we got carried away with shooting from outside and didn’t drive to the basket as much as we should have.”

It was a tough outing for Equity, who already had lost twice and were seemingly headed out of Cup contention, but they kept fighting to ensure they strangled their hold on that third spot in Group B.

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