Africa-Press – Rwanda. Final
REG 84-74 Patriots
Rwanda Energy Group (REG) Basketball on Sunday retained the Rwanda Basketball League title after a thrilling 84-74 win against Patriots to take the series 3-2.
REG went into a fully packed BK Arena on Sunday, September 18 to command an early first quarter lead 24-13, thanks in part to point guard Cleveland Thomas Jr.
It was the first time REG defended its trophy (2021) in what has now become the local league’s fiercest rivalry.
REG’s barrage was further emphasized by star-shooting guard Filer Jovon Adonis who led the team with 23 points, 11rebounds and 6 assists in 38 games of play.
By half time, REG extended the lead to 42-31, in what the majority perceived as a ‘disappointing’ response from the Patriots.
Despite a quick response in the third quarter, Patriots trailed the whole game with Gray Kendall and Ntore Habimana leading in points 18, 13 respectively.
With the loss, Patriots’ legacy of closing out games is at stake, while their rival, highly boosted by team’s tactician Henry Mwinuka seeks to stem the tide.
And with the win, REG is crowned champions and also bags home a cash prize of Rwf15 million, double of their finals contestants.
Here are the key takeaways from the game
Adonis, Cleveland are just ‘too strong’
The offensive power of REG’s guard combo has recently proven to be too strong for this seaso.
Adonis and Cleveland have consistently led the energy side in their previous games, and Patriots has not been an exception.
For the final game five, there was no lack of the trend. Cleveland clinched 15 points while his co-guard Adonis clinched a game high 23 points.
Olivier Shyaka finally had his game
Little did fans expect Olivier Shyaka to show up in such a big game of the season, but the former national team captain proved that he had not slipped far from the skill.
Shyaka scored 4 of his 6 three points in a total of 14 points. It has been a while since the power forward fueled a wild crowd, but his ability to shoot the three point was witnessed once more.
Should he maintain the form, REG can confidently set the bar high in the upcoming Basketball Africa League.
Kenny Gasana looked lost
It is rare that Kenny Gasana will score 11 points in a deciding game. The point guard who has been framed as the face of the local league clearly didn’t have it.
Gasana’s offensive tactics and playmaking ability didn’t live up to his standards in a single quarter.
It has also been visibly clear that chemistry-wise, Gasana faced difficulties to match with American guard Crawford Christopher.
Past champions since 2010
2011: Kigali Basketball Club