Shooting guard Benjamin Mukengerwa scored a game-high 21 points on Friday night as he inspired his side – Rwanda Energy Group (REG) – to a third consecutive title of the preseason basketball tournament after beating Patriots 64-50 in the final.
This is the second time REG have beaten the two-time reigning champions within weeks after Henry Mwinuka’s men also edged Patriots late November to win the inaugural Agaciro Basketball tournament’s title.
“This was a good performance. The players again proved we are ready for the new season,” Mwinuka told reporters after the victory over his former employers.
Patriots who did not want to exhaust their players as they get ready for the final Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers, lost the first quarter 17-11 and never recovered from the early deficit.
A dull second quarter ended 7-7, but REG took the third quarter 18-10 before again the two sides shared the final quarter 22-22. REG power forward Bienvenu Ngandu contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds to the win, while Kami Kabange added 12 points.
Small forward Dieudonne Ndizeye led Patriots with 16 points, with new signing Guibert Nijimbere posting 10 points.
The Patriots, Rwanda’s representatives in the BAL qualifiers, start their quest for a ticket to the finals tournament against Tanzanian champions JKT on Tuesday.Follow https://twitter.com/NkotanyiDamas