IPRC-Kigali 76-65 Espoir
Ubumwe 67-37 The Hoops Rwanda
IPRC-Kigali stunned favourites Espoir 76-65 in the title match on Sunday to win this year’s Heroes Day basketball tournament that climaxed on Sunday evening at Amahoro Indoor Stadium, while Ubumwe claimed the women’s crown.
It was the first ever competitive trophy for the Kicukiro-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center (IPRC-Kigali) since their establishment in 2014.
Albert Buhake’s side came into the game having lost to Espoir in the group stages, which made the final game even more fascinating.
IPRC-Kigali began the game perfectly and easily took the first quarter 18-7, but the four-time league champions, Espoir recovered to claim the second quarter 26-16 to go into the half time break trailing 33-34.
Led by their star player, Steven Hagumintwali, who was his side’s top scorer with 15 points, IPRC-Kigali looked more motivated in the third quarter which they won 23-17 before sealing their historic victory with a 21-15 fourth quarter win, hence wrapping the game 76-65.
Espoir’s forward Olivier Shyaka and his teammate Pascal Niyonkuru scored 18 points each, a combined game-high, but their effort wasn’t enough to inspire the Nyamirambo-based club to a first title in 2017.
“We learnt from the mistakes that we made during the group stage loss and I have to say, the game today was a bit easier than we expected. This is a milestone in IPRC-Kigali history, we have managed to beat all the big teams to win this tournament,” said IPRC-Kigali coach Buhake.
Meanwhile Ubumwe retained the women’s title after defeating The Hoops Rwanda 67-37, thanks to Chloe Rothman’s game-high 19 points.