By CAXTON APOLLO
Champions Kenya Commercial Bank Lions and regional kings Co-operative Bank lost their crucial return leg matches as the battle for the first position in the basketball Premier League season intensified at the Nyayo Stadium at the weekend.
Last weekend’s fixtures were characterised with upsets which saw KCB Lions crash 73-67 to International Christain Centre in extra-time on Sunday.
Co-op Bank, who were recently crowned the Zone Five club champions in Uganda, were not spared either by Strathmore University, who shocked them 70-65.
Falling of the two giants was expected going by the outcome of their first leg fixtures against their improved opponents. Lions had to labour to defeat ICC 72-58 in the firstleg while Co-op Bank had squeezed a narrow 70-69 win over the now aggressive Strathmore University.
From the opening whistle
Crowd pullers ICC had defeated Co-op Bank 78-72 in the first leg and going down 95-73 in the return a week ago could stop them from embarrassing the league champions.
Coached by Fred Omondi, ICC got into business from the opening whistle and hit Lions 18-9 in just the first quarter.
Lions showed some effort to carry home the second quarter 22-14.With guard Griffins Ligare on fire ICC, went up 32-31 at half time and later locked the duel at 55-55 in regulation time.
ICC outscored the bankers 17-12 in extra-time to avenge their first leg defeat. Ligare scored 22 points, James Omune shot 14 for ICC, while Tobias Onyango worked hard to hit 24 points and team-mate Victor Odendo 12. Lions’ unbeaten run this year had been shattered by KPA, who had rocked them 77-69 in Nairobi.
Results: ICC 73 KCB Lions 67, KCA 54 Mennonites 44, World Hope 89 MMUST 89, Mennonites 85 Blazers 54, KCA 59 Parklands 43, Yana 33 Strathmore University 38, ICC 74 Lomboritz 65, Co-op Bank 65 Strathmore University 70.