Play-off Games: Patriots begin title defense against IPRC- Kigali

Patriots’ captain Aristide Mugabe (with the ball) seeks to inspire the Kagugu-based side to a second consecutive playoffs title. They take on IPRC- Kigali in Game 1 of the best-of-three semi-finals tonight - starting at 8pm. Sam Ngendahimana.

Today

Men semi-finals

Game 1

REG             Vs     APR 6pm

Patriots       Vs     IPRC- Kigali 8pm

Saturday

Game 2

IPRC- Kigali         Vs            Patriots 6pm

APR             Vs     REG 2pm

Patriots skipper Aristide Mugabe has urged his teammates to strive for ending the 2017/18 season on a high with successful defense of the Playoff Games title.

Holders face IPRC- Kigali in Game 1 of their best-of-three semi-final series tonight at Amahoro indoor stadium. The game kicks-off at 8pm.

The reigning league champions will also be aiming to reach playoffs finals for a fourth consecutive time since 2015. Henry Mwunuke’s side has only won the title once – last year.

Fresh from guiding the national team to the second round of the ongoing 2019 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers, Mugabe has revealed that his side is ready to defend their title despite the recent disappointing campaign in the Genocide Memorial Tournament.

“Everyone is ready, we have prepared ourselves in the best possible way. We have also worked on a few mistakes we made in the Memorial Tournament last month.” he said.

IPRC- Kigali on the other hand will be seeking to reach their first ever playoffs finals since the club’s formation in 2014, but most importantly they will be battling to win the title and qualify to represent the country at the 2019 FIBA Africa Zone V Club Championships.

The regional tournament attracts the league champions and playoffs winners from Zone 5 member countries namely; Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia and Rwanda.

In the just concluded regular league season, IPRC- Kigali became the first team to defeat Patriots, 95-92, last December before the Kagugu-based side returned the favor with a 84-52 win in the return-leg, in March.

“We are very optimistic and ready to take our chances against any opponent – one game at a time. We know every team and every player because we have been playing against each other in the league, we know where to exert pressure and where to be very careful,” IPRC- Kigali coach Albert Buhake told Times Sport in a separate interview on Thursday.

Last year, after failed attempts in 2015 and 2016, Patriots ended the two-year playoffs jinx to lift the title, bouncing back from losing Game 1 (82-75) to win the next three Games; 83-77, 64-54 and 56-52 respectively.

Meanwhile, the clash between Patriots and IPRC- Kigali will be preceded by another highly awaited semi-final encounter pitting former league champions REG and APR – starting at 6pm.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

 

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