MVP Mugabe praises to teammates

After being crowned the Most Valuable Player of the national basketball league season that ended on Saturday, Espoir’s point guard Aristide Mugabe attributed his outstanding performance to the support of his team mates.
Both sets of players go through the normal routine of fair play before kick off.
Both sets of players go through the normal routine of fair play before kick off.

After being crowned the Most Valuable Player of the national basketball league season that ended on Saturday, Espoir’s point guard Aristide Mugabe attributed his outstanding performance to the support of his team mates.

Mugabe led Espoir to both the regular season title and the playoffs trophy, success the Nyamirambo-based side achieved with an unprecedented unbeaten record in the club’s jubilee anniversary year.

Jean Bahufite’s team beat archrivals APR 78-68 in Game Three of the best of five playoff final series on Saturday at Amahoro indoor stadium court, to complete a 3-0 whitewash.

Espoir won all three games which helped them to win two titles in what has been an outstanding season for the oldest basketball club in Rwanda. They won Game One 89-63 and Game Two 106-54 respectively last weekend.

Unstoppable

After the game Mugabe, who was named MVP, expressed his delight after scooping the award ahead of his team mates Kami Kabange and APR’s Lionel Hakizimana, but heaped the praise on his teammates, whom he said, without them, he couldn’t be the player he is.

“I am happy with the MVP award, but what is most important is that the team has won two titles in a single season, the whole team has been outstanding throughout the season,” he told Times Sport on the courtside after receiving his award.

He added, “I’m happy with the performance of our team, and I want to congratulate my teammates for the effort each one of us put to make this dream a reality.”

The 24-year-old acknowledged that much as he won the MV award, Espoir’s success has been built on team effort where everyone connected to the club, from players, coaching staff, management and the fans, played a key role.

He said, “We have been unstoppable this season. We did our best to win all games which is good for us, we hope we will continue to work hard because this is not the end.”

APR’s Kenyan born coach Cliff Owour summed up his team’s demise in just a few words, “We failed to defend well against an excellent team that’s why we got punished.

It is a process for our team, but I thank my players for the good work they did, we lost to the best team, we did our best.”

Memorable season


In Game Three, which APR needed to win to force the series in Game Four, Espoir started like a house on fire, running with the first quarter 19-12, before APR came back in the second quarter which they won 23-15.

The former champions looked tired and short of ideas in the second and third quarters, which Espoir dominated 25-13 and 20-9 respectively.

Forward Olivier Muhizi and Kami Kabange scored 23 and 14 respectively, while the Most Valuable Player of the year, point guard Mugabe added 11 points as Espoir rounded off a memorable season.

Lionel Hakizimana scored 11 points for APR, while the skipper, who was ejected after accumulating five fouls Theotime Murimira, added 8 points.

Espoir adds the two titles to the Zone Five club championship crown they won last year in Kampala after beating Burundi’s Urumuri in the final.

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