IPRC Kigali Basketball Club defeated Patriots BBC on a three points difference in match day 3 of the 2017/18 FERWABA National Basketball league campaign.
IPRC Kigali earned 95 against 92 points of Patriots.
Patriots BBC, league champions of 2015, had not yet lost a game after having started the league by beating United Generation Basketball (UGB) 82-66 before prevailing over former champions Espoir by 82-69 last weekend.
On the other side, IPRC Kigali, runners-up of the 2017 FERWABA pre-season tournament had not yet tasted a win as they lost their opening league game against APR 81-84 before being defeated 75-78 by UGB.
In a game, considered the biggest clash of the match day 3 of the Rwanda’s basketball men league, held at Amahoro Indoor stadium in Remera this Friday December 15, 2017, IPRC started high to win the first quarter by 27 points to 22 in favour of Kagugu-based Patriots BBC.
The thirst to win the game for Albert Muhake’s youthful men did not end as they went on to win the second quarter on a 13 points difference as it finished IPRC Kigali having secured 31 to 18 points of Henry Mwinuke’s men.
Patriots BBC came from behind and won the third and the fourth quarter on a score of 20-14 and 32-23 respectively though the final score average was 95 for IPRC Kigali, Patriots having 92.
Lionel Hakizimana nearly made the IPRC Kigali’s day a mess when he scored three points from far to make it 92 for Patriots while IPRC Kigali, who were largely supported by fellow students, had 93 points, nine seconds seconds before the clash saw its end.
However, a foul on dangerous Guibert Nijimbere a second before the end of the game put an end to Patriots’ hopes to get the win result as Nijimbere, who was awarded two shots, scored them with no mistake to make it 95 for IPRC Kigali to 92 for Patriots.
A fight to stop dangerous Guilbert Nijimbere
As IPRC finished the second quarter having 31 points to 18 of Patriots with a 20 points difference in general, it could be seen by everybody at the stadium that IPRC were driven by young Guilbert Nijimbere who had not featured for them in the first two games they lost to UGB and APR BBC.
The mission to stop Nijimbere was given to Pascal Karekezi who blocked him everywhere and started fouling him second after second which made referees intervene and warn Karekezi who had become a laughing stock for fouling a player who is far nine years younger.
Guibert Nijimbere- who scored 28 points to emerge top scorer of the game- humiliated almost every Patriots’ player including Aristide Mugabe, the captain of Patriots BBC and the national basketball team and Cedar Sagamba who regularly features the national team in international competitions.
Nijimbere was followed on the top scoring chart by Patriots’ Steven Hagumintwari who scored 27 points and teammate Dieudonne Ndizeye who scored 21 points while IPRC Kigali’s Leonard Hitayezu was fourth as he earned 15 points in the game.
Patriots’ coach shuns the media
When the game ended, journalists waited for Patriots Basketball club’s coach Henry Mwinuke for an interview but the Kenyan tactician did nothing other than only keeping them waiting until everyone took his way home as he [Mwinuke] did not return despite efforts by journalists to call him.
On the other side, IPRC Kigali’s head coach, Albert Buhake, told the press that, “It was a must win game for us. We lost our first two games as we lacked some of our key players including Guibert Nijimbere who helped us very much a lot today, the tall Jean Paul who was in exams while Hervis and Fiston had injuries. I had them all in trainings of this week and I prepared my team to win this game which they did”.
Buhake said that he and his players look forward to win the league cup this year. He said that his team could not win the league cup in past years because the league calendar does not favour his players most of whom are students pursuing their diploma and bachelor studies.
He said: “Every year, the league starts when our players are from holidays, they are not yet full ready and it usually our time to train them and put their form to the level of others, most of the times, the academic schedule does not accord to the league calendar”.
“We lost two games and now we won one. Now I have got all the players, we will work hard from today on to win the coming games and see that we can be champions this year”.
Victor Mutabaruka, the IPRC player also said that IPRC Kigali looks forward to winning the cup this year.
“We aim to be champions, no matter what. It is true we lost some good players but as they got out, others came in and they are all here to compete and win the cup this year”, he said
In the other game of the FERWABA Hoops league match day 3 played on Friday, Espoir Basketball Club defeated UGB 91-61 as both Pascal Niyonkuru and Regis Gatoto of Espoir were top scorers having earned 25 and 20 points respectively.
In a game slated for this Saturday December 16, 2017, the defending champions REG Basketball club travel to the Southern Province for a clash against IPRC Huye Basketball Club before they face off Rusizi BBC this Sunday December 17, 2017 in Rusizi.