REG vs Patriots 8pm
Rwanda Energy Group (REG) Basketball Club head coach Jean Bahufite has urged his players to be fully focused when they face rivals Patriots on Friday night in Game 1 of this year’s Playoffs best of five finals series at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
The regular season league champions, REG, are on the hunt for a treble in their maiden season after also lifting the Genocide memorial tournament, while Henry Mwinuke’s Patriots will be seeking to spoil their rivals’ party.
Patriots were last season’s dominant team, and represented the country at the FIBA Africa Zone Five Club Championship in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. But their dominance was short-lived after the coming of REG on the scene this season.
Bahufite’s REG reached the Playoffs finals after seeing off four-time winners, Espoir 2-0 in the best of three semi-final series; 63-60 in Game 1 and 87-76 in Game 2, while Patriots eased past IPRC- Kigali, also in two games; 87-79 and 74-69 respectively.
Speaking to Times Sport on Tuesday, Bahufite said his men have done an amazing job so far this season, but warned that they must be very focused as the club bids for a treble.
“Patriots are a strong team, tactically and physically. We can’t underestimate them. We can’t afford any form of complacency because it would be a terrible mistake,” the 44-year-old former Espoir coach noted.
REG’s Point-guard Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana and centers Kami Kabange and Bievenue Ngandu are the men to watch, while Aristide Mugabe, Walter Nkurunziza and Elie Kaje will be key to Patriots’ charge for the Playoffs title.
Maxime Mwiseneza’s Espoir and Albert Buhake’s IPRC- Kigali will contest the third position.
In women’s category, regular season league champions APR will face IPRC- South in the best of five playoffs finals, while last year’s winners Ubumwe will be up against The Hoops in the battle for third place.