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REIGNING champions, Espoir are two wins away from retaining their basketball play-off title after winning Game 1 against rivals KBC on Wednesday.  Game Two of the best of five finals is set for Friday at Amahoro indoor stadium, starting at 7pm.

both players are needed
Pascal Karekezi of Espoir and Mike Buzangu/Time Sport/File

Pascal Karekezi of Espoir scored a game high 24 points in Game 1 on Wednesday, while Mike Buzangu (right) was restricted to just 13 points for KBC. Times Sport / File.

Yet to lose a game on the local scene since the start of last season, Espoir beat former champions KBC 77-49 in Game 1 played at Amahoro indoor stadium court, thanks to Pascal Karekezi, Aristide Mugabe and Lionnel Hakizimana with 24, 19 and 12 points respectively for the winning side.

KBC’s duo of brothers, Patrick and Mike Buzangu scored 20 and 13 points respectively but the pair got little support from team mates, who were kept at bay by the rampant champions.

Jean Bahufite’s Espoir were dominated in all four quarters in Game 1 and they would be looking to win Game 2 today to move to within one game of achieving an unprecedented second successive title with an unbeaten record.

“We deserved to win, the target it retaining the title unbeaten so we need to treat the next two games with utmost respect. We can not afford to take anything for granted because KBC could hurt us if we’re not careful,” Bahufite of Espoir told Times Sport  said yesterday.

His opposite number of KBC, Cyrille Kalima admitted, “After losing Game 1, it is going to be very hard for us to win this title, however, we’re not ready to live anything to chance as there are still four games to play. But we need to win Game 2 on Friday if we’re to avoid a whitewash.”

Also today, Rwanda Allied Peace for Progress (RAPP) take on holders and favourites APR in Game 1 of the women’s play-off finals at the same venue, starting at 5pm, while APR and Rusizi will be up against each in Game 1 of the men’s third place play-off, starting at 9pm.

Source:The New Times

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