Basketball: REG to start Heroes Cup defence against IPRC–South

REG star Beleck Bell was the second runner-up in league’s top-scorers last season with 384 points. Sam Ngendahimana.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) basketball will start defence of their 2019 National Heroes Cup title against IPRC–South on Saturday.

All the games of the week-long tournament, which starts Friday, will be held at Amahoro Stadium.

REG, who were also the 2018 winners, won the title last year after dominating archrivals Patriots 92-72 in the final.

Speaking to this publication on Wednesday, REG head coach Henry Mwinuka hailed his players following their brilliant start to the just started season and urged them to ‘give it your best’ in bid to retain the Heroes Cup for a record third consecutive time.

Mwinuka’s side humbled IPRC–South 109-59 in the league last Saturday.

“We beat them (IPRC-South) on Saturday, and we are happy about it, but this is a different competition. We cannot afford to be complacent,” said Mwinuka, who joined REG from Patriots in November.

“Winning the Heroes Cup (again) would boost our confidence as we start the new season. We are a good group with players who have been together for a while, it is that team spirit that we want to leverage on in winning trophies this season.”

While REG having been winning most titles in local basketball since the club’s formation in 2016, Patriots remain the most dominant side having edged them in the playoffs finals in the last two campaigns to clinch back-to-back league titles.

And, according to Mwinuka, the ultimate target this year is guiding his side to their second championship after winning the 2016/2017 title in their maiden season in the league.

Last year’s beaten finalists, Patriots, begin their Heroes Cup title bid against IPRC–Kigali in Group B on Friday, also at Amahoro Stadium.

The rematch follows last Friday’s shock defeat as Jean Bahufite’s IPRC – Kigali stunned reigning champions Patriots 85-80 in their league opener.

In the meantime, the women’s competition has attracted five teams – APR, the Hoops Rwanda, Ubumwe, IPRC South and UR Huye – and they will all be facing one another in a round-robin format to determine who will succeed The Hoops Rwanda – the 2019 winners.

Men’s category groups:

Group A: REG, IPRC–South, UR Huye and UGB

Group B: Patriots, IPRC–Kigali and Shoot for the Stars

Group C: APR, Tigers, and UR–CMHS

Group D: Espoir, IPRC–Musanze and 30 Plus

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