Espoir stun REG to claim Genocide Memorial tourney

Tournament organisers Espoir basketball club stunned favourites Rwanda Energy Group (REG) to retain this year’s Genocide Memorial tournament (local edition) that concluded on Sunday at Rafiki courts in Nyamirambo.
Pascal Niyonkuru, seen here preparing to take a free throw during a recent league game against APR, scored 17 points as Espoir beat REG to win the GMT. S. Ngendahimana
Pascal Niyonkuru, seen here preparing to take a free throw during a recent league game against APR, scored 17 points as Espoir beat REG to win the GMT. S. Ngendahimana

Sunday
Final
Espoir 61-58 REG
Third-place
IPRC-South 65-58 Patriots

Tournament organisers Espoir basketball club stunned favourites Rwanda Energy Group (REG) to retain this year’s Genocide Memorial tournament (local edition) that concluded on Sunday at Rafiki courts in Nyamirambo.

 

The former league champions were drawn in a tough group that comprised REG, who currently lead league table, and the reigning Heroes’ Day tournament champions, IPRC-Kigali.

 

However, Maxime Mwiseneza’s side defied odds at their home ground by not only reaching the final but also winning it 61-58 against REG which is coached by the former Espoir trainer Jean Bahufite.

 

During the group stages, REG defeated Espoir 69-59 to advance to the semi-finals as table leaders while Espoir qualified in second place.

At a fully covered Rafiki ground, the highly contested game saw REG claim the first quarter 16-14 before Espoir recovered to take the second quarter 19-15 to go into the half time break leading 33-31.

REG dominated the third quarter and claimed it comfortably 18-10, but Mwiseneza’s side showed great character in the final quarter, which they won 18-9 hence wrapping up the game 61-58.

Pascal Niyonkuru was Espoir’s top scorer with 17 points while his teammate Emmanuel Iyakaremye contributed 12 points to guide their side to victory, while REG’s Kami Kabange dropped a game high 18 points.

Meanwhile, IPRC-South stunned reigning league champions Patriots 65-58 in the third-place playoff.

The regional edition of the annual event meant to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is scheduled for June 9-11—it attracts teams from Uganda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and hosts Rwanda.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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