National basketball league reigning champions Rwanda Energy Group (REG) are optimistic they will immediately bounce back from their first defeat of the season at the hands of archrivals Patriots at Amahoro stadium on Friday.
The defending champions lost 75-60 to Patriots in what had been predicted by many to be an easy win for REG who were hitherto the only unbeaten league side going into the clash.
Treble-chasing REG head coach Cyrille Kalima urged his players to draw a lesson from the defeat and recommit to their team’s target.
“The upset against Patriots was a wakeup call and a reminder that nothing is granted. A treble this season is a possibility for us but we’ll need to work very hard for it,” said the former Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) tactician told Times Sport on Monday.
“To win titles, you have to be consistent. As we start the New Year, we need to bounce back stronger and keep a winning momentum. Patriots were the better side on Friday and deserved the victory,” Kalima added.
2016 league champions and 2017 FIBA Africa Zone 5 finalists Patriots have beefed up their squad with two new signings; Micheal Makiadi, from Kenya, and Junior Kasongo, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two players contributed a lot in Friday’s stunning win over REG.
In the calendar year 2017 alone, REG won three titles (the Genocide Memorial Tournament, the regular league title in June as well as the preseason tournament in November). The energy group side reached the final of the play-off games but lost the series 3-1 to Patriots.