Espoir set sights on playoffs title

After missing their double target in this year’s Genocide memorial tournaments, Espoir basketball club are keen on yet completing a double with the forthcoming playoffs their new target.
Espoir's Pascal Niyonkuru (with the ball) in action against REG during Genocide memorial tournament at Amahoro indoor stadium. (S. Ngendahimana)
Espoir's Pascal Niyonkuru (with the ball) in action against REG during Genocide memorial tournament at Amahoro indoor stadium. (S. Ngendahimana)

After missing their double target in this year’s Genocide memorial tournaments, Espoir basketball club are keen on yet completing a double with the forthcoming playoffs their new target.

Three weeks ago, the Nyamirambo-based side stunned favourites Rwanda Energy Group (REG) to retain this year’s local edition of the Genocide Memorial tournament beating them 61-58 with key man Pascal Niyonkuru bagging the Most Valuble Player (MVP) award.

 

Following this triumph, head coach Maxime Mwiseneza and his boys aimed even higher vowing to scoop the regional edition that was staged four days later.

 

Unfortunately, they again met their former head coach Jean Bahufite’s side REG in the final, who did not make any mistake but avenged 81-69 before the league debutants clinched the league title last week.

 

Following this setback, Mwiseneza, who is keen on guiding the team to next year’s FIBA Africa Zone V club championships, said that their focus will now be turned to the playoffs title which they last won in 2015.

“Reaching both finals is a great motivation to our relatively young team, they never believed that they could even reach a single final, everyone thought Patriots and REG would be competing in both finals but we defied the odds and this has shown us how strong we have grown,” said Mwiseneza.

“We have now turned our focus to the playoffs title, we are going to prepare well because we want to compete in (regional) Zone V next year,” he noted

The 2016/17 season was wrapped up last weekend with Espoir finishing in the fourth-place with 30 points.

They will face champions REG in the playoffs set for July 3.

Patriots, who finished in the second place, will take on IPRC-Kigali who finished in the best-of-three each vying for a slot in the final.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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