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Patriots coach Kalima resigns

Cyrille Kalima (R), speaks to his players during last season's play-offs game against APR.

Cyrille Kalima (R), speaks to his players during last season’s play-offs game against APR.

Patriots basketball team head coach Cyrille Kalima has resigned from his position to concentrate on demanding office work.

Kalima told local media over the weekend that, “I am no longer Patriots coach. I have stepped down by mutual consent with the club, but I will be available to offer any assistance. My new job is too demanding (in terms of time), which is why I was forced to resign,”

He noted that, “Patriots are a big club; they need a coach who is going to be around the team all the time, something that I can no longer guarantee because most of the time I will be working upcountry. However, I’m still part of the club’s veterans’ team.”

Former UR- CoE (former KIE) and Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) coach, who tendered his resignation, last Wednesday, is taking up a new job as a technician with RIEM, a company that deals with network broadcasting towers.

Kalima, who also happens to be one of the founding members of Patriots Basketball Club, took over the club’s head coach role in late 2014 to lead the then league debutants to finish second in both regular league and post-season play-off games ahead of the likes of APR and Cercle Sportif de Kigali.

Despite leaving the club just days before the league start, Kalima is confident Patriots can go a step better than last season, to win the national championship.


November 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Bryant receives high praise from peers

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

The NBA fraternity reacted quickly to Kobe Bryant’s announcement Sunday that he would retire at the end of the season, with some calling it “sad” while other spoke of his incredible legacy.

Bryant, 37, one of the greatest US basketball players ever, will retire after spending his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was one of the first to respond to Bryant’s announcement.

“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP (2008), five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game,” Silver said.

“Whether competing in the NBA finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game. I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”

Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott spoke to reporters about Bryant’s decision before Sunday’s 107-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

“I thought he at least had another year in him,” Scott said. “It kind of shocked me when he told me. Sad more than anything. Somebody I care about, have a lot of respect for, it’s always hard when greatness like Kobe decides to hang it up.”

It’s a unique situation for a Lakers team that lost iconic centre Shaquille O’Neal to a departure for Miami, and past legend Magic Johnson to his announcement that he had the HIV virus.

“We’re all sad,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss said. “This era of Lakers basketball has been one of the most fun, exciting prosperous eras we could imagine.”

Johnson told Yahoo Sports that the five-time NBA champion Bryant leaves a lasting legacy.

“He’s the closest thing we’ve seen to Michael Jordan,” Johnson said. “He’ll probably go down as the second-greatest scoring guard. You couldn’t stop him. His will to win was incredible and he stayed in the gym like no other.”

Indiana star forward Paul George said the 37-year-old Bryant will always be an inspiration to him.

“He’s still my idol regardless of him aging and his game changing,” George said.

Shane Battier, who won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat and is now retired, paid Bryant the highest compliment.

“Kobe is the greatest competitor I have ever faced,” Battier said. “I am glad he found peace, I don’t know if we will see another like him. Enjoy the last 66.”


November 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight NBA 0 Comment

Warriors rally to grab 13th victory

Paul Pierce and Andre Iguodala

Paul Pierce and Andre Iguodala

The Golden State Warriors erased a 23-point first-half deficit to stretch their NBA season-opening win streak to 13 games on Thursday with a 124-117 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The reigning NBA champions became just the fifth team in NBA history to open a season 13-0 and continued to close in on the record for the best start to a season of 15-0 — achieved by Washington in 1948-49 and the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.

But it was a close-run win, as the pumped up Clippers raced to a big lead over their Pacific Division rivals, led by point guard Chris Paul.

Paul, back in action after being sidelined by a groin strain, made his first seven shots, including three from three-point range.

He finished the game with 35 points and eight assists in 32 minutes on the floor.

But Golden State, who trailed 55-32 early in the second quarter, battled back, with reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scoring 13 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 91-85 going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors shot 73.3 percent from the field in the final period taking a 116-115 lead with less than two minutes to play and never relinquishing it.


November 20, 2015 By : Category : English featured NBA 0 Comment

Ibaka is African player of the week

Ibaka is African player of the week

Serge Ibaka gets this week’s African Player of the Week award for games played from 9-15 November. The Congolese centre reminded us how great a defender he is in Friday’s 102-87 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

As well as sparking the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) to a win over Philadelphia with 11 points, seven rebounds, seven blocks and two assists and a steal in 29 minutes, Ibaka also helped OKC improve their mark to 6-4 to top the Northwest Division.

With OKC winning two of their three games last week, Ibaka averaged 14.4 points, 7.9 boards and 3.0 blocks in seven November games.

He recorded his second double-double of the season on Sunday, but OKC were unable to avoid a 100-85 home loss to the Boston Celtics.

Ibaka isn’t just blocking shots, and rebounding, he’s shooting and passing the ball like never before as his career-high 1.4 assists per game indicate.

He has an explanation for his start to the season.

“I have a lot to work on and get better. I am working to get better every day,” he said to the OKC Thunder website.

“We can’t block every shot, but we try to make sure we protect our paint first.”


November 17, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight 0 Comment

Seraphin pays tribute with inspired play

Kevin Seraphin

Kevin Seraphin

New York forward Kevin Seraphin paid tribute to his French homeland with an inspired performance Sunday, helping the Knicks to a 95-87 NBA win over New Orleans just two days after Friday’s attacks in Paris. The 26-year-old Seraphin scored 12 points while sporting a “Paris” haircut with the image of the Eiffel Tower and a peace sign shaved on his scalp. Seraphin, who was born in Cayenne, French Guiana, made the most of his 13 minutes on the floor in front of a crowd of 19 800 at Madison Square Garden. “I just wanted to do something creative, something different,” said Seraphin regarding his haircut, “not just put something on my shoes. I had no time to get a tattoo or anything, so I just wanted to do something creative. “I got it done this (Sunday) morning. I got up early and my barber came over and we just did it. It took about an hour.” Seraphin was acquired by New York over the summer as a free agent after spending five years with the Washington Wizards. His parents live in Paris and he owns a home in the southern part of city. The Knicks were led by forward Carmelo Anthony’s 29 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Seraphin and fellow reserve, point guard Langston Galloway, who had the clutch performances. Galloway scored 15 points, eight in the decisive fourth quarter that allowed the Knicks to win just their second home game of the season. “He (Seraphin) gets the game ball,” said Anthony. “He deserved it. He was ready. He was a big part of our run that we made in the second half. “To see him and what he is dealing with emotionally and mentally, be prepared today when his number was called was big.” The Pelicans have lost three in a row and nine of 10 to begin the season. They are winless in six road games. The Knicks began the fourth quarter on a 16-7 run to take an 82-72 lead with 6:35 to play. Galloway scored six points in the surge and Seraphin contributed four. Seraphin came off the Knicks’ bench in the third quarter and scored six key points to help New York to a 68-65 lead. His hook shot gave New York a 66-60 lead with 2:06 left in the quarter and his jumper with 14 seconds to go provided the three-point cushion going into the fourth quarter. “He (Seraphin) has been working hard to keep himself in shape even though he hasn’t played a lot of minutes,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher. “We felt like he was active enough and energetic enough to give us a punch.” LAKERS HONOUR ‘TRAIN HEROES’ The Los Angeles Lakers were among the teams around the NBA to hold a moment of silence remembering victims of the Paris attacks. The team also held a pre-game ceremony honouring the Americans who helped thwart a terror attack on a train in France in August. One of the men recognised, US Air Force Airman Spencer Stone, said Friday’s events in the French capital brought home the importance of his actions on the train. “It makes me realise even more what could have happened if we weren’t able to do what we did that day,” he said. Another of the train heroes, Anthony Sadler, was thrilled to meet Lakers star Kobe Bryant. “That’s my favourite player and we just got to meet him. I’m star-struck right now,” said Sadler, who got to see the Lakers down the Detroit Pistons 97-85. GOOD TO BE HOME Derrick Favours returned to his hometown of Atlanta and led the Utah Jazz to a 97-96 victory over the Hawks. Favours scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and while he enjoyed playing in front of a hometown crowd, he was even happier to have Utah’s French centre Rudy Gobert back from injury. “It was awesome having Rudy back,” Favours said. “I got to move back to (power forward) and he gets to move back to (centre). I can do my thing on offense and he could do his thing. It was great to have him back.” STAYING POWER Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett played 24 minutes in the Timberwolves’ 114-106 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies to become just the fifth player in NBA history to log at least 50 000 minutes on court. The 39-year-old, who was drafted out of high school by the Timberwolves in 1995, left to win a title with the Boston Celtics and returned to Minnesota in February. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Jason Kidd and Elvin Hayes as the only 50 000-minute men in league history.

November 16, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight 0 Comment

Curry leads Golden State to win over Grizzlies

Curry leads Golden State to win over Grizzlies

Stephen Curry

After a quiet first half, Stephen Curry turned up the volume in the second half and finished with a game-high 28 points as the Golden State Warriors remained the league’s only unbeaten team with a 100-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

A little more than a week after the Grizzlies had suffered a franchise-worst 50-point defeat to the Warriors (9-0) at Oracle Arena, Memphis scrapped to within a point of the defending NBA champions in the third quarter.

After a pair of free throws from power forward Zach Randolph (19 points, seven rebounds) with 3:37 left in the third quarter, the Grizzlies trailed 57-56. But Curry’s 17 points in the third quarter were too much and a steal and buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the league’s reigning MVP gave the Warriors a 74-63 lead going into the final frame.

Memphis (3-6) lost their fourth straight game and shot just 34.3 percent, going 24-for-70 from the floor. Memphis, who entered the night ranked 29th in the NBA in made treys and 3-point percentage, went 3-for-15 from beyond the arc for 20 percent.

The Warriors shot 48 percent from the floor, going 36-for-75. They hit 11-of-27 from 3-point range for 40.7 percent.

Swingman Andre Iguodala had 20 points off the bench for Golden State and forward Harrison Barnes finished with 19 points. In addition to his 28 points, Curry had five rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Centre Marc Gasol scored a season-best 26 points and seven rebounds for Memphis and swingman Tony Allen chipped in 15 points. Starting point guard Mike Conley went 1-for-12 from the field and scored just four points.

November 13, 2015 By : Category : English Eurobasket featured Tags:
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Kalima urges Patriots to aim high in new season

Kalima urges Patriots to aim high in new season

PATRIOTS Basketball Club head coach Cyrille Kalima has called on his players to be focused and ensure a successful season when the 2015/2016 season begins on November 27.

The league start will be preceded by a preseason tournament set for November 13-22.

Former Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) trainer, Kalima said mid this week Tuesday that, “We are going to have a very long campaign, in fact our toughest. Last season (their first season since being formed), our target was to come in the top four but we excelled to finish second. That made us believes that we can actually challenge for the title,”

He further disclosed that the club has signed a number of experienced players and believes they will blend well with the younger players to deliver a strong challenge to the traditional giants, Espoir, CSK and APR.

Among the new signings is former Espoir skipper Aristide Mugabe (point-guard), his former teammate Elie Kaje and Jean Marie Uwiringiyimana from UR- College of Education (UR- CoE)

Kagugu-based Patriots enjoyed their maiden season to finish first runners-up both in regular season league and playoffs. The team will be looking to improve this time round.

November 13, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tags:
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Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder as Durant limps off


Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Centre on November 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Centre on November 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Russell Westbrook’s first triple-double of the season more than made up for Kevin Durant’s early exit Tuesday in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 125-101 NBA triumph over the Washington Wizards.

Westbrook sat out the entire fourth quarter after amassing 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for Oklahoma City, who led 68-50 at halftime and by as many as 29 points in the second half.

But the news wasn’t all good for the Thunder as Durant clutched his left leg late in the second quarter and didn’t play the second half because of a hamstring strain.

“We knew we had to come out and play the right way and not be relaxed,” Westbrook said of the Thunder’s determination to keep the pressure on in the second half.

“I thought we did a great job of sticking together.”

Durant, who played just 27 games last season as he battled to recover from a broken foot suffered in October 2014, downplayed Tuesday’s injury.

“I can walk, it’s just a little sore,” said the former NBA Most Valuable Player, who put up a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds before exiting.

“I’ll just get treatment and see how it goes,” he added.

Durant, who hails from the Maryland suburbs near Washington, is a fan favourite in the nation’s capital, with many hoping he might opt to join the Wizards when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

But after Durant said this week that his warm reception in Washington was “disrespectful” to the hometown team, he was actually booed sporadically on Tuesday.

The Wizards didn’t give their supporters much to cheer.

They committed only eight turnovers after a combined 49 in their prior two games, but were out-rebounded 53-41 and shot just 39.2 percent from the field.

Washington felt the absence of guard and leading scorer Bradley Beal, who hurt his left shoulder in Saturday’s road loss at Atlanta, and forward Nene, who was sidelined by back spasms.


The New Orleans Pelicans finally notched their first win of the season, snapping a six-game losing streak with a 120-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

However, the triumph was shadowed by an injury to star forward Anthony Davis, who exited with a hip contusion early in the third quarter after scoring 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor.

Guards Eric Gordon, Ish Smith and Toney Douglas also each scored 17 points for the Pelicans, who handed the Mavs their third defeat in four games.


Superstar LeBron James scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied for a 118-114 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The Cavs trailed by as many as nine in the final period — before James stole a pass, dribbled the length of the floor, drawing a foul as he powered to the basket, and converted the three-point play that energised his team.

James added eight assists and seven rebounds for Cleveland, who survived 16 turnovers to notch their seventh straight win and remain nbeaten in five home games this season.


Kobe Bryant was a late scratch with back trouble, watching from the sideline as his Los Angeles Lakers fell 101-88 to the Miami Heat.

“I’ve been dealing with the back a little bit during training camp,” said the 37-year-old Bryant, who just this weekend was saying he wanted to play every game he could in his 20th and possibly final season. “Today, I couldn’t shake it free.”

November 11, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:,
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Lead point-guard Mugabe joins rivals Patriots

Espoir's Mugabe (R) is defended by City Oilers' and international teammate Kami Kabange during this year's Zone V Club tourney in Kigali.

Espoir’s Mugabe (R) is defended by City Oilers’ and international teammate Kami Kabange during this year’s Zone V Club tourney in Kigali.

The country’s lead point-guard Aristide Mugabe has dumped Espoir to join rivals Patriots on a one-year contract.

The move comes a few days before the 2015/2016 season kicks off on November 27.

Mugabe leaft Espoir after five years where he helped the Nyamirambo-based club to win league titles in 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 as well as the FIFA Africa Zone V Club Championships in 2012.

Speaking to local media recently, Mugabe said, “I am now a player with Patriots. I have decided to leave Espoir in search for new challenges and I believe Patriots have the platform to help me improve on my career,”

Mugabe featured for Jean Bahufite’s Espoir from 2009; he joined CSK in 2010 for one year before returning to Espoir for a second spell.

The Rwanda national team captain won the Zone V title in Kampala in 2012 and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Mugabe made his league debut for Rusizi Basketball Club in 2007; he has played at three Afro-basket Championships in 2011 in Madagascar and 2013 in Ivory Cost.

By signing Mugabe, one of the best players in the national championship, Cyrille Kalima’s Patriots have boosted their chances of winning the regular season league title and playoffs trophy, which they lost to Espoir last season.

November 9, 2015 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Bryant reigns, but Lakers lose

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

The New York Knicks, aided by a late three-pointer from Langston Galloway, beat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-95 on Sunday to lend a bittersweet flavour to Kobe Bryant’s likely last game at Madison Square Garden.

The 37-year-old Bryant, in his 20th and probably final season with the Lakers, says he doesn’t want the 2015-16 campaign to turn into a farewell tour.

But he may not be able to prevent it, if the adoring reception he received from New York basketball fans is any indication.

“It felt amazing,” said Bryant, who drew a roar almost every time he touched the ball.

Bryant had received a similar welcome across town in Brooklyn two nights earlier, but the cheers resonated even more in Madison Square Garden, the storied Manhattan venue where Bryant played his first NBA All-Star Game in 1998 and where he scored a stunning 61 points against the Knicks on February 2, 2009.

He entered the game with the highest scoring average at the Garden of any active player at 30.7 points per game in 15 games.

“I remember coming in my first game here, not knowing what the hell to expect, what to do,” Bryant said. “To be here 20 years later and have that (cheering) happen feels amazing.”

Although Bryant said he wasn’t certain that was his Madison Square Garden farewell, Lakers coach Byron Scott said this weekend he’d had his first real hint from the player that he wouldn’t return after his current contract expires at the end of the season.

Scott told reporters in New York he had asked Bryant about something coming up next summer.

“His answer was ‘This might be my last year,’” Scott said.

The five-time NBA champion led the Lakers with 18 points on six-of-18 shooting.

Centre Roy Hibbert added 18 points and nine rebounds and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson contributed 10 points.

But a close game got away from the Lakers in late in the fourth quarter.

Galloway drained a three-pointer with two minutes remaining for a two-point Knicks lead and the hosts never trailed again on the way to their first home win of the season.

Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with a game-high 24 points, 11 of them in the fourth quarter and also pulled down eight rebounds.

After the game Bryant traded hugs and chats with some former Lakers colleagues, including ex-coach Phil Jackson, now the Knicks president, and former teammate Sasha Vujacic.

But former teammate Derek Fisher, another ex-Laker, wasn’t on the floor for the post-game embraces having been ejected in the third quarter for arguing when Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was called for a foul on Bryant.


LeBron James, battling a sore left quadriceps, scored 29 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers 101-97 for a sixth straight victory.

James, who had said he would undergo round-the-clock treatment after taking a knee to the thigh in a game on Friday, didn’t disappoint, nor did teammate Kevin Love, whose 22 points included two key shots in the final minute.

Love’s uncontested dunk with 8.2 seconds remaining sealed the game and his own best performance of the season. He also collected 19 rebounds, blocked three shots and handed out two assists.

Love and James combined for 18 of the Cavaliers’ 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Paul George scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Pacers, but a near four-minute scoreless spell late in the fourth ended Indiana’s hopes.


November 9, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment