Playoffs finals: Game one
APR vs IPRC-South 6pm
REG vs Patriots 8pm
Third place: Game one
Ubumwe vs The Hoops 2pm
IPRC-Kigali vs Espoir 4pm
After a very unconvincing display in the just-concluded league season, former league champions Patriots are looking to make the ongoing playoffs title their consolation, according to the club assistant captain Olivier Kamirindi.
Patriots were the best team in the league last season when they won their first league title and the Heroes’ day title before making their debut at FIBA Africa Zone V club championship that was staged in Dar-e-Salaam, Tanzania. But they have stumbled this season following the emergence of Rwanda Energy Group (REG) Basketball Club.
REG was created before the start of the just concluded season and made significant recruitments which included signing former Patriots captain Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana, who was last season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), experienced maestro Kami Kabange from City Oilers of Uganda, Center player Bievenue Ngandu from Espoir on top of appointing former Espoir head coach Jean Bahufite.
With such a strong roster, REG ended Patriots dominance and in their first ever season as a team, they have already won the league and the Genocide memorial titles and are seeking to complete a treble with the playoffs in which they will first have to see off Patriots.
Both sides qualified for the best-of-five final series after defeating their respective opponents each with a 2-0 aggregate score.
Patriots defeated IPRC-Kigali 87-79 and 74-69 while REG knocked out Espoir 63-60 and 87-76.
However, Patriots, who managed to win only the pre-season title, are plotting to roll up their sleeves and give REG a run for their money.
“We are preparing for these finals in a very extensive way, we have decided that each and every one on the team considers the forthcoming finals as the new chapter and we want to reclaim our status,” said Kamirindi
“Playoffs is a big title, the five games are enough for us to bounce back, this is a good opportunity for us to qualify for next year’s Zone V with the title,” he added.
Both teams will be seeking their first ever playoffs title. The eventual winners qualify for FIBA Africa Zone V Club championships, along with the league champions and, if REG wins, Patriots will still participate in the annual event due to finishing second in the league.