Espoir 65-63 New Stars
Urunani 71-56 Warriors
FIBA-AFRICA men’s Zone V title champions Espoir basketball club showed why they came into the tournament as overwhelming favourites by overcoming Burundian side New Stars by two points, 65-63 on Friday to reach Saturday’s final in Bujumbura.
The Rwandan league champions Espoir, who were drawn in Pool A alongside Burundi’s Urunani and USIU from Kenya, finished top of the group after winning their two group game 60-41 and 62-58 respectively.
The holders were expecting New Stars to be the major rivals of the tournament and were totally right as the Rwandan side had to dig deep for a narrow 65-63 to set a final clash against Urunani, who beat Warriors 71-56 in the second semi-final. The finals between Espoir and Urunani kick off at 7pm today.
Forward Olivier Muhizi top scored for Espoir with a game high 16 points, while former APR guard Lionel Hakizimana added in 13 points.
“We are very happy to beat a home side and reach the final, the game was tougher as we expected but at the end of the day we came out deserved winners,” head coach Jean Bahufite told Saturday Sport by phone after the game yesterday.
He added, “We expect the final to be tough but we came here on a mission to retain our title and God willing we will bring the trophy back home.”
It’s Espoir against Urunani in Zone V final