Patrick Ngwijuruvugo has heaped praise on his Rwanda Energy Group (REG) basketball players after his side retained the Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT) title over the weekend.
The Burundian tactician credits the successful title defence to ‘great team spirit’ from his players, who beat local rivals Patriots 74-71 in the final on Saturday night.
Power forward Elie Kaje posted a game-high 21 points to inspire REG to the tightly contested victory in front of a fully packed Amahoro Indoor Stadium. Cameroun-born guard Beleck Bell Engelbert and Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“I am very happy and proud of my players for the job well-done. This victory is down to a great team spirit,” a visibly excited Ngwijuruvugo told Times Sport in a post-match interview.
“GMT is a competition we respect a lot as a club, and we always try to win it. This is the level of determination we want to display in the upcoming playoff games,” he added.
A total of 15 teams participated in the just concluded 2019 memorial tournament, which is organized every year in honour of the over one million people – and more particularly members of the basketball fraternity – that were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In the meantime, The Hoops Rwanda edged IPRC-South 60-48 to lift the tile in women’s category, while United Generation for Basketball (UGB) claimed the veterans’ crown.
New Patriots signing, Gilbert Nijimbere, a point guard, was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while the award in women’s fray went to Rosine Micomyiza, of The Hoops Rwanda.
Over 30 members of the basketball fraternity – players, coaches and administrators – are known to have been killed during the Genocide.