Patriots 82- 69 Espoir
REG 68-64 APR
Point-guard Sedar Sagamba scored a team-high 19 points to held Rwanda basketball league title hopefuls Patriots down Espoir 82-69 on Friday night to maintain a perfect start of the new season with two wins out of two.
For the four-time league champions Espoir, it was a second consecutive loss after day one upset (59-64) at hands of IPRC- South. It is the worst start to the new season in seven years for the Nyamirambo-based Espoir.
The game started in balanced fashion with both teams showing intent to win, but it was 2015 champions Patriots, who narrowly claimed the first quarter 17-16.
The second quarter as a tight as the first as the two teams exchanged leads Espoir but again, Patriots enjoyed the last 90 seconds to win the quarter 16-14, going into half-time break with a narrow 33-30 lead.
But as fans inside a full-packed Amahoro Indoor Stadium thought Espoir would return for the second half re-energized, instead it was Henry Mwinuke’s Patriots who upped their game even further, emphatically winning the third quarter 26-18 before sealing victory with a 23-21 fourth quarter win.
Espoir’s forward Pascal Niyonkuru scored a game high 21 points, while Sedar Sagamba (19) and Steven Havugintwali (17) combined for a total 36 points for the victors, Patriots.
Meanwhile, there was also victory for defending champions Rwanda Energy Group (REG), winning narrowly 68-64 against former winners APR, who were bidding for a second win a row.
Cyrille Kalima’s REG took the first and third quarters 18-14 and 24-15 while APR claimed the second and fourth quarters 23-16 and 12-10 respectively.
APR’s Ally Ruzigande and Brian Mbanze scored 21 and 18 points while REG captain Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana, who scored back-to-back 3-point shots in the third quarter, topped his team’s scoring sheet with 19 points.