Patriots of Rwanda are the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The Patriots edged Madagascar’s Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club (GNBC) 78:72 in the Group A tie played at Kigali Arena, in Rwanda.
The win, their second of the tournament, sends Patriots to the quarterfinals having beaten Rivers Hoopers of Nigeria on the opening day last Sunday.
Patriots started slow and were on the chasing end throughout the first three quarters, before staging a comeback in the last five minutes in the paint to win the game by a 6-point difference.
This is not the first time that the Malagasy basketball club has given the Rwandan side a tough job.
During the BAL qualifiers played in Kigali, Patriots needed two-time buzzer miracles to defeat GNBC, thanks to Sedar Sengamba and Jean Victor Mukama’s masterclass back in December 2019.
“GNBC is a good team. Even during the qualifiers and the final game of the qualifiers. It’s very hard to defend them. Thankfully, we won the game,” said Ndizeye Dieudonne, Patriots Small Forward who also featured in the BAL qualifiers against GNBC.
Ndizeye (13), Bush Wamukota (11), and Brandon Costner (16) are the only players to register double digit points to help Patriots overcome a stubborn GNBC.