Basketball league title ‘not APR’s priority this season’

APR Men’s basketball club is not targeting to win the national league title this season, head coach Cliff Owuor has told Times Sport.
Owuor  (left) talking to one of his players during Game 3 of the 2012 playoffs final against Espoir. File
Owuor (left) talking to one of his players during Game 3 of the 2012 playoffs final against Espoir. File

APR Men’s basketball club is not targeting to win the national league title this season, head coach Cliff Owuor has told Times Sport.

APR, who have three Fiba Africa Zone V titles on their name, last won the league title in 2010.

The army side kicked off the 2014 season with a 59-43 win over newly formed Gisenyi basketball club in Rubavu on Sunday, four days after losing 79-46 in the final of the preseason tournament against archrivals and two-time reigning league and playoffs champions Espoir.

“We are not targeting to win the league title as far as this season is concerned, we are still in the building process, but next season, we should be in a better position to challenge for honours, that’s when I believe we’ll be able to give our fans something to cheer about,” Owuor admitted on Monday.

The Kenyan trainer added: “The big percentage of my squad is made up of junior players who need time to grow, improve and develop their game. It’s not easy to challenge experienced teams like Espoir.”

“For now our aim is to finish in the top three this season and go for the title next year.”  

APR signed five players in the offseason, namely; Emmanuel Iyakaremye and Nsengiyumva, both from ETEM Gisenyi, Gaetan Rutabingwa from Saint Aloys Rwamagana, Marc Rusharaza from Rusizi basketball club, and Pascal Niyonkuru, from KBC.

While APR men’s team has played second fiddle to Espoir, KCB and CSK over the last four seasons, their female side has dominated women’s league since 2007. The women’s league is set to kick off on March 8.

Impressive start

Meanwhile, on Sunday, champions Espoir started the defence of their league title with 105-40 thrashing of 30-Plus.

The 2012 Fiba Africa Zone V champions, seeking a third successive league title, were led by forward Olivier Shyaka, who scored game high 30 points.

Christian Barutwanayo and former APR forward Lionnel Hakizimana added 26 and 24 points, respectively, for Jean Bahufite’s team.

 

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