Playoffs finals: Beleck Bell lifts REG past Patriots in Game 3

Beleck Bell Engelbert, seen here taking a free-throw against Espoir in a past game, was also pivotal in Game 2 victory on Friday. / Courtesy

Beleck Bell Engelbert scored a game-high 17 points to power Rwanda Energy Group (REG) basketball over Patriots 64-59 in Game 3 of the playoffs finals on Saturday.

The Cameroon-born shooting guard added seven rebounds, one assist, and three steals as REG took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven finals.

REG, champions of the 2016/2017 season, fought back in the second half for the hard-earned victory after trailing Patriots 32-27 at the break, having lost the first two quarters 14-12 and 18-15, respectively.

“We have been able to beat a strong team [Patriots] in two straight games, what a night!” Beleck said in a post-match interview at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.

Igor Kovacevic’s REG also won Game 2 Friday night in a narrow 66-65 victory to level the series following their 67-58 defeat in Game 1 on August 9.

“We look forward to Game 4. I am going to give everything I’ve got,” added Beleck.

In Saturday’s win, Elie Kaje contributed 11 points while Bienvenu Ngandu and Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza added 10 points each. Small forward Steven Havugintwari led Patriots with 16 points, followed by guard Sedar Sagamba with 11 points.

The two local basketball heavyweights face-off in Game 4 on September 6, with Patriots looking for a crucial win that would bring them back in contestion while REG will be seeking to edge inch closer to their second championship in three years.

Hoops take lead

In the meantime, The Hoops Rwanda have also taken the lead in women’s finals after winning Game 2 and 3 over the weekend.

With 24 points and 11 rebounds, Laurence Imanizabayo inspired Moise Mutokambali’s side to a 65-51 win over hopefuls APR in Saturday’s Game 3, adding it to a tightly fought 56-52 victory in Game 2 the previous day.

The Hoops are in search of the club’s first league title, while the army side, APR, eye their first since 2017. Reigning champions IPRC-South have not made it to this year’s finals.