Espoir, REG lock horns in preseason tourney final

REG centre Kami Kabange takes a free throw during the third quarter in the 88-59 victory over Patriots at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Friday night. Sam Ngendahimana.



Espoir           Vs   REG           16:00

Third place

Patriots        Vs   APR          12:00


The Hoops  Vs   Ubumwe14:00


Men’s semi-finals

Espoir       75-69      APR

REg           88-59      Patriots

ESPOIR Basketball Club will be eyeing the club’s first title in three years when they lock horns with Rwanda Energy Group (REG) in the preseason tournament’s final at Amahoro Stadium on Sunday.

The game starts at 4pm.

The Nyamirambo-based side were the first team to seal a final slot on Friday after overcoming APR 75-69 in the last four, thanks to a game-high 23 points from youngster Emile Galois Kezeneza.

Burundian prodigy Armel Sangwe and new signing Fabrice Rukundo added 14 points, each, to the hard-fought victory. Philippe Kubanatubane contributed 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists on the night.

The second semi-final, which pitted holders REG and league champions Patriots, turned out to be an easy pass for the former as they tormented Henry Mwinuke’s side 88-59 to set final date with former champions Espoir.

Star centre player Kami Kabange inspired a second quarter fight back as the holders overturned the 23-18 first quarter deficit to go into half-time with a 53-30 lead.

The DR Congo-born Rwanda international posted a game-high 22 points, made 3 rebounds and provided two assists.

Returning from recess, both sides played out a 14-14 third quarter before REG took the final quarter 21-15 to humiliate the team that dominated them throughout last season enroute to winning the league title and lifting the play-offs trophy.

REG shooting guard Benjamin Mukengerwa, new signing Bill Beleck and power forward Bienvenu Ngandu contributed 15, 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Small forward Steven Havugintwari was Patriots’ star with 17 points.

Besides the highly anticipated final clash, Patriots take on APR in the third place playoff – starting at 12pm – while The Hoops Rwanda will be up against Ubumwe in the women’s fray at 2pm.

League champions IPRC- South have already retained the title in women’s category after winning all their round-robin games against Ubumwe, The Hoops and APR.

In the meantime, Bank of Kigali are the new national basketball league, youth leagues, play-off games and preseason tournament sponsors following the Rwf300 million three-year deal between the bank and Rwanda Basketball Federation (Rwf) that was signed on Friday.

The bank will be sponsoring the competitions to a tune of Rwf100 million per year until 2021.