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Nairobi, Mombasa Cruise in Africa City Challenge - Jun 12, 2017

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Kenyan sides Nairobi Morans and Mombasa City Sharks recorded opening day wins on the first day of the Africa City Challenge basketball tourney at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday. Sharks opened proceedings with a nail-biting 69-66 win over South Sudan's Juba Bright Stars in the opening match before Nairobi Morans saw off Dar es Salaam Dream Team 87-71 in the late game. Mombasa, who replaced Kigali City for the tourney, rallied from 18 points down to claim a sizzling win. Juba took the first quarter 22-11 and were cruising in the second quarter before the homeside hit back. Jubal led 33-15 four minutes into the quarter before the introduction of Kenya Ports Authority's Gerry Wekesa, who had sat out the first quarter, inspired Mombasa. He scored nine points in the quarter as they won the second quarter 19-18 and narrowed the gap to 10 points at halftime. Mombasa's resurgence continued in the third quarter as they won it 19-15 to trail by six baskets with one more quarter left. At the start of the fourth quarter, Samuel Ocholla (196-F) who turns out for KPA scored six straight points to tie scores at 55-55 to set up a nail biting finish. With the momentum shifting, Mombasa opened an eight-point lead of 65-57. However, Juba clawed back slowly and trailed by three points with 47 seconds remaining. Mombasa held out to win the quarter 20-11 and complete a remarkable comeback. Samuel Ocholla and Jerry Wekesa starred for Mombasa with 14 points apiece as Leek Manyuol and David Gabriel sunk 19 points and 12 points respectively for Juba.
In the second match, Nairobi held off a brief rally from the Tanzanians to complete a good day for Kenyan sides in the competition. Nairobi won the first quarter 16-9 after dominating for the entire period. However, Dar es Salaam came into the second quarter strongly and won 23-14 to lead 32-30 at halftime. At the start of the third quarter, Victor Odendo made a three-pointer for Nairobi to lead 33-32 but the Tanzanians tied 33-33 with a free shot. Arou Ramadhani (F) sunk a basket for Nairobi to break the deadlock and they went on to claim the quarter 32-19. Nairobi opened the biggest lead of 19 points in the fourth quarter at 80-61 and won 25-20. Kenya international Ligare scored 16 points for Nairobi while Brayan Muramba scored 20 for Dar es Salaam. On Monday, Dar es Salaam will play Kampala Red Stars at 6 pm. Six teams drawn from Nairobi, Mombasa, Mogadishu, Kampala, Juba and Dar es Salaam are featuring in the five-day tournament, which hasa prize kitty totalling Sh1.5 million. The top three teams will walk away with a cash prizes ranging between Sh 250,000 and Sh 620,000.
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