Home Sports Patriots Upset UGB to Cap off League’s First Leg At Top

Patriots Upset UGB to Cap off League’s First Leg At Top

by Eddy Abayisenga
12:42 pm

 Patriots have capped off the first-leg games of Rwanda Basketball League at the top of the league, following their nail-biting 81-78 victory over UGB on Wednesday night.

Henry Mwinuka’s men got off to a dazzling pace at LDK Gymnasium, prevailing 24-13 in the first quarter.

However,  things later changed drastically in the contest as a spirited UGB capitalised on the 2021 BAL semifinalist’s vulnerability in defence to make a turnaround, winning 21-15 and 24-21 in the second and third quarters, respectively, and taking an eight-point advantage in the final quarter.

Within just one minute remaining in the game, Patriots were trailing 78-76. Still, Dieudonne Ndizeye stepped up to win a three-point shot that extremely demoralised Yves Murenzi’s side, resulting in a 81-78 triumph for Henry Mwinuka’s side.

William Perry had another outstanding performance at the night, scoring a game-high 20 points.

Frank Kamndoh, who was playing against his former side UGB, contributed 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while Steven Hagumintwari added 18 points and seven rebounds.

UGB’s leading scorer was Shaffy Habineza as he sank 19 points, while Jean Marie Rukerimbere and Amisi Saidi dropped 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Patriots are the only team that finished the league’s first leg undefeated, having won all their nine games.

“Today’s game was a tactical one. I knew the game was going to be hard because those teams are improving everyday and are targeting Patriots now. UGB have players who have been in the league for more than six years, so they don’t fear about our players,” Patriots head coach Henry Mwinuka told the media after the game.

Nikola Scekic did not have a significant place in  the Mwinuka’s blueprint as he only featured in the first and second quarters, with a tally of only eight minutes on the court, leaving the Serbian centre fuming on the bench.

Mwinuka explained that the decision was made because Scekic was unable to keep up with the speed of UGB players.

“UGB players are small, but they are fast. I told the players in the locker room that even if I pulled you out because I saw the mismatches was really bad for you, so you have to swallow it because I wanted to win as a coach. He (Scekic) understood then after.”

Mwinuka also ruled out the possibility of new signings for Patriots in the second leg of league, claiming that “most of the players want to join APR and REG.”

“We can push with this team until, may be, the playoffs. What we need to maintain in the second round of the league is to win against REG and APR, because if you lose against them, it became tricky to go in the playoffs.”

“It’s going to be very hard in the second round. We have to maintain our pace and go for more than that, because teams are going to add some players.”

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