Basketball GMT final slots up for grabs as giants lock horns

Olivier Shyaka drives to the basket during a past match against Epoir at Petit Stade, Remera. REG will face Espoir in Genocide Memorial Tournament today. Sam Ngendahimana.

Today

Men
REG Vs Espoir, 6pm
Patriots Vs APR, 8pm

Saturday

Women
IPRC- South Vs U18 National Team, 9am
APR Vs Ubumwe, 11am

It will be a battle for supremacy among domestic giants as Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Espoir, Patriots and APR battle for spots in the final of this year’s basketball Genocide Memorial Tournament.

The highly anticipated semi-final showdowns take place today at Petit Stade in Remera. Winners will book a date for the final of the 2018 local edition of the annual tournament.

In the first game, last year’s finalists REG will be up against holders Espoir before newly crowned league champions Patriots take on hopefuls APR in the second game of the night.

Following a disappointing season in which they lost the league title in the final game against archrivals Patriots a fortnight ago, Cyrille Kalima’s REG, led by star centre Kami Kabange and skipper Ali Kazingufu, will be looking for revenge and solace against archrivals Espoir.

On the other hand, Maxime Mwiseneza’s Espoir won’t lie low against a side they have defeated twice in the last twelve months. The Nyamirambo-based side seeks to retain the title and end the season with a silverware in the cabinet after failing to qualify for the play-off games.

“Today is our only chance for silverware this season. It is unfortunate that we have not made it to the playoffs, which is why we want to do all we can and successfully defend this title. It’s going to be a tough game against a revenge-driven opponent,” Espoir head coach and national team interim coach, Mwiseneza told Times Sport in an exclusive interview yesterday.

In the meantime, Henry Mwinuka’s Patriots are chasing a double after scooping the league title while Aimé Karim Nkusi’s APR will be fighting for a first major title in seven years.

Both sides share an equal head-to-head record this season, with Patriots having defeated APR 65-62 in the first round of the league before the latter returned the favour to win the return leg in a narrow 65-64.

After today’s semi-finals in the men’s category, Saturday will be the turn for women’s category where IPRC-South are supposed to play the Under-18 National Team, followed by a clash of egos pitting giants, APR and Ubumwe.

The annual basketball memorial tournament, formerly Gisembe Memorial Tournament, is designed to remember and honour members of the basketball fraternity who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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