Patriots 66-70 IPRC-Kigali
APR 76-64 Espoir
Reigning champions Espoir and title hopefuls Patriots were both handed shock defeats in the national basketball league games played Friday night at Amahoro indoor stadium court.
The national basketball championship has never been this competitive in years; few, if any, would disagree. All the top teams have lost to each while, unlike in the previous four seasons; the top four teams have a genuine chance in the race for the regular season league title.
Youthful APR, who started the day outside the top five, defeated Espoir 76-64, their first victory against the four-time reigning champions in five years, while IPRC-Kigali won 70-66 over early season pace-setters, Patriots basketball club.
The APR against Espoir game started off to a slow and balanced tempo, and the first quarter ended with both teams tied on 14 points, but the army side improved to win the last three quarters 21-12, 23-12 and 18-17 respectively to earn a well-deserved win.
“We are happy for the win; my players did incredibly well today, and I thing we deserved the win. We have to keep the momentum in the fight to finish in the top four so that we qualify to play in the playoffs,” APR Kenyan coach, Cliff Owuor said in a post-game interview.
On the same evening, IPRC-Kigali defied odds to beat Patriots in a hard fought 70-66 victory, which came in overtime, following a 60-all draw in regulation time.
Despite the loss, Espoir sit at the top of the table with 26 points, level with IPRC-Kigali, IPRC-South are third with 25 points, Patriots remain fourth with 22 points and three games in hand, while APR moved into the top five, also with 22 points.