APR vs Espoir 6pm
IPRC-Kigali vs Patriots 8pm
REG vs IPRC-South 11am
Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre, (IPRC-Kigali) will face national basketball league defending champions Patriots on Friday evening at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
In the last game between the two sides, during last season’s playoffs semi-finals, Patriots beat IPRC-Kigali 59-56 to advance to the final where they went on to lose to IPRC-South 1-3 in the best of five series.
Looking ahead to Friday’s game, IPRC-Kigali coach Albert Buhake admitted that he expects a tough challenge from the defending champions Patriots, who remain unbeaten this season (4:0).
“It is going to be a tough game,” Buhake told Times Sport, adding that, “Patriots is the only team that is still unbeaten this season, so defeating them will require us to put on a top performance, which I believe we can.”
He noted, “We were disappointed to lose our last game against REG (75-55). We were not aggressive enough in that game, losing the ball easily, besides we had few turnovers. Our goal against Patriots is to avoid a second defeat in a row. We can only beat them by playing better.”
IPRC-Kigali have so far played four games, winning three and losing one—their wins have come against Rusizi (81-74), CSK (129-34) and UGB (94-66).
Patriots coach Henry Mwaniku says, “We just have to wait and see what happens but what I know, it will be tough because they can run, they have the height and can go one-on-one. We have to be smart against them.”
Meanwhile, that game will be preceded by the clash between archrivals APR and league leaders Espoir at 6pm, at the same venue.
Espoir (4:1) lead the league standing with 9 points. Patriots are second on table with 8 points, same as Rusizi (2:4) while new entrants REG (3:1) are fourth with seven points. IPRC-Kigali (3:1) and APR (3:0) are fifth and sixth with 7 and 6 points respectively.
Playoffs reigning champions IPRC-South (2:2), UGB (1:3), 30-Plus (0:5) and CSK (0:5) are 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th with six, five, five and five points respectively.