Patriots 81-82 Espoir
IPRC- Kigali 97-87 UGB
EMILE Galois Kezeneza was the star of the show as Espoir basketball club stunned champions Patriots in a closely contested 82-81 victory in the 2018/2019 preseason tournament on Friday night at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
Espoir were sharp from the off, with small forward Kazeneza (22), youngster Armel Sangwe (16) and new signing Fabrice Rukundo (15) combining for a total 53 points.
The Nyamirambo-based side effortlessly took the opening quarter 21-9 before claiming the second 23-14 to go into half-time with a 44-23 lead.
However, a blistering start to the third quarter from Henry Mwinuke’s Patriots ensured the game went the distance and it was only in the closing stages that Kazeneza, Sangwe and former IPRC- South star Rukundo were able to steer the former champions across the line.
Star-studded Patriots bounced back from the break to claim the third quarter 26-12 before both sides played a thrilling fourth quarter that ended 32-26 in favor of the Patriots.
Rwanda international and Patriots forward Dieudonné Ndizeye dropped a team-high 20 points.
In another Day 1 encounter, last year’s finalists IPRC- Kigali overcame United Generation Basketball (UGB) in a 97-87 win.
The Kicukiro-based side were due to face APR in their second game on Saturday while Patriots would take on IPRC- South later in the day.
By press time Saturday, the two games were yet to get underway.