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Spurs 101-100 Dallas: Spurs kick off title defence by edging Mavericks

Spurs 101-100 Dallas Spurs kick off title defence by edging Mavericks

Tony Parker (left), Tim Duncan (centre) and Manu Ginobili (right) of the San Antonio Spurs sit on the bench during the fourth Quarter of the NBA Finals

Tony Parker scored 23 points as the San Antonio Spurs began their title defence with a 101-100 win over Dallas in one of three opening-night NBA contests Tuesday.

The Spurs, despite their superb record in ring ceremony games, needed every minute of the contest to hold off their Texas-state rivals, who gave them their most difficult challenge of last year’s playoffs.

The Spurs rolled to their fifth title in June by dismantling the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. But first they had to get past the Mavericks in an epic seven-game series in the Western Conference semi-finals.

“We moved the ball much better in the second half,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who came off the bench to score 20 points. “The defence was great. Tony had a couple of big baskets it was a very close game. Anything could have happened.”

Tuesday’s three-game set to start the 2014-15 regular season also saw Anthony Davis fall one block shy of a triple-double as the New Orleans Pelicans pulled away from the Orlando Magic for a 101-84 home win.

LA LAKERS, ROCKETS CLASH

Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers were taking on the Houston Rockets in the late contest.

San Antonio received their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony which also included raising their fifth championship banner in franchise history. The Spurs are now 5-0 in games where they received their championship rings.

“The ring ceremony got me emotional,” said Ginobili. “This is a great start. I can’t complain.”

Parker scored the go ahead three-pointer with under a minute left. Ginobili also had six assists off the bench and Tim Duncan totalled 14 points and 13 rebounds for San Antonio.

Monta Ellis led Dallas with 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points with six rebounds in the loss.

San Antonio returned almost everyone from last year’s team but they had to play the season-opener without NBA finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is sidelined by a right eye infection.

Tiago Splitter also sat with a calf injury and Australian Patty Mills will miss the first few months after shoulder surgery.

San Antonio has now won 10 straight regular-season games over the Mavericks, including eight straight at home.

AFP

October 30, 2014 By : Category : Afrobasket English featured Tags:
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Durant upbeat despite starting season on sidelines

Durant upbeat despite starting season on sidelines

Kevin Durat #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs

Four-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, last season’s NBA Most Valuable Player, was upbeat Tuesday as he discussed starting the season on the sidelines.

The Oklahoma City Thunder star, talking for the first time since surgery on his broken right foot, insisted the situation was a “win-win” — giving him a chance to learn about the game from a different viewpoint as his team-mates honed their skills on court.

Durant, who arrived to meet reporters using a wheeled scooter to support his injured foot rather than using crutches, is expected to be sidelined at least another month.

STEP UP

With the NBA season tipping off on October 28, he said other players will have to step up and make the most of increased minutes on the floor.

“It gives guys opportunities to play, build confidence and build that chemistry as a team,” Durant said. “I’m looking at the positive side of it. It’s a win-win. I’m learning a lot about the game while I’m out.

“My teammates are getting a lot of opportunities because there are a lot of minutes out there to play and help contribute to the team.”

Durant said he was grateful for the support of the Thunder organization as he decided to have surgery to repair the Jones Fracture — a broken bone at the base of the small toe.

An aching pain alerted him to the problem, and he and team officials hope it was caught early enough to keep the rehabilitation process short.

“Everything is progressing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to these next few weeks of getting better.”

Durant’s on-court contribution will be hard, if not impossible, for the Thunder to replace.

He averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assist a game last season, sparking the Thunder to the Western Conference finals, where they were eliminated by the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

After winning last season’s scoring crown, he joined Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and George Gervin as the only players to win four NBA scoring titles in five years.

However, Durant says he’ll try to use his time on the sidelines as a learning experience.

“It’s a different position for me, but I’m looking forward to growing mentally by watching the game, learning from my teammates and helping them as much as I can,” he said.

Reuters

October 28, 2014 By : Category : Afrobasket English featured Tags:
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Basketball Federation plans a Rwf380m Gymnasium

Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba)

Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba) is looking for sponsorship to enable construct a Rwf380m gymnasium.

The Ferwaba president, Desire Mugwiza confirmed the development on Thursday, adding that they expect to kick off the construction of the gymnasium next year.

He said, “We did a feasibility study on the cost of the project and we will send it to the Ministry of Sports before securing land. After that we have a list of potential sponsors who we will approach with an offer,”

Rwanda has seven gymnasiums which include:  Lycee de Kigali, Amahoro Indoor Stadium, NPC Gymnasium, Kimisagara Youth Sports Centre, Group de la Sale (Byumba), UR (National University of Butare) and Green Hills Academy.

October 27, 2014 By : Category : English featured Rwanda basketball League 0 Comment

No more recruitment of American players into Hoops team

No more recruitment of American players into Hoops team

Kenneth Gasana and Bradley Cameron will no longer be called to the Rwanda Basketball team

RWANDA BASKETBALL federation (Ferwaba) will have to embark on hunting for young local talents as they have taken a stern decision of ending their reliance on American born players.

The Ferwaba Secretary General Richard Mutabazi said recently that they took into account the fact that foreign players on the national team have not been performing well.

Since 2007, Rwanda recruited six American basketball players after they were naturalised in efforts at strengthening its base in major continental and sub-regional competitions.

Some of the Americans who were naturalized for include ManixAuriantal, Robert Thomson, Edouard Miller, Kenneth Gasana, Cameron Bradley, and Mathieu Miller.

Mutabazi said, “Despite this recruitment of high-level basketball players, the performance of the national team still leaves much to be desired,”

“Outside the detection of local young talents, this decision will help reduce the huge expenses in allowances and other costs paid to these American basketball players,” Mutabazi said.

This decision comes a few days after the newly appointed the Minister of Sports and Culture, Ambassador Joseph Habineza urged all local sports federations to promote the recruitment of young talents for a better sport generation to come in the East African nation.

October 15, 2014 By : Category : Basketball Zone V English featured Tags:,
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Canada beats China for fifth at world women’s basketball championship

m_Lisa Thomaidis

Coach Lisa Thomaidis called the accomplishment gigantic and spoke of the elation around the Canadian women’s basketball team as it celebrated a fifth-place finish at the world championship.

But as significant as it was — a 61-53 win over China in Istanbul represented the best Canadian result at the worlds since 1986 — the true excitement is about what the future holds.

A group that combines seasoned veterans and up-and-coming teenagers seems poised to continue its ascent through the global rankings, beginning with next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Edmonton.

“Nothing but excitement and happiness,” said 18-year-old Hamilton point guard Kia Nurse, who represents the long-term future of the program.

“Definitely the older players are a bit more excited than the younger players. They’ve been through the trenches and they’ve been with the team for a very long time, so they know exactly what it took to get here. Some of us younger players are just coming in now realizing what we have to do to get back to this place.

“We’re definitely thinking it can go nowhere but up from here.”

Where that eventually leads remains to be seen, of course, but there is absolutely reason for optimism heading into next summer and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nurse, Nirra Fields of Montreal and Windsor’s Miah-Marie Langlois put youthful athleticism in the backcourt, Katherine and Michelle Plouffe of Edmonton are emerging stars, and the veteran presence of guards Shona Thorburn and Kim Gaucher adds stability.

The program should get injured centre Natalie Achonwa of Guelph back — she missed the season after knee surgery — and London’s Miranda Ayim blossomed at the world championship.

It is a bit of a work in progress, but much progress has been made.

“We’re still learning,” said Thomaidis. “We’re not the team we’re going to be in a few years. We still make mental errors, still make bad mistakes. Our consistency game in and game out still isn’t there. When we get to that point, I absolutely think we’d get to the position to win a medal.”

Three of Canada’s four wins in Istanbul — over China, France and the Czech Republic — came against teams that began the world championship higher in the FIBA rankings than No. 9 Canada. Their two losses came against eventual champion United States and bronze medallist Australia.

“Any win at a world championship is a huge win, and when we get to play teams that are ranked ahead of us and, quote-unquote, better than us, to pull out the performances we had just really says a lot about where the program is,” said Thomaidis.

The combination of veterans and youngsters is unique for a program that spent most of the 1990s in flux. But a commitment from the athletes — and increased support and funding from Canada Basketball for extended training camps and exhibition tours — has created a much-needed level of consistency.

“For a while there, you saw a lot of players come through the system and they weren’t sticking around for whatever reason,” said Thorburn. “Just to even have a handful of players on this team (with) 100 international games together with Canada, that’s enormous. That shows the commitment from players.

“And everything that Canada Basketball has done on their side. I remember when I was 19, 20, we would maybe have 10 days of practice and we would be thrown into this major competition. No wonder we weren’t winning.”

That’s all changed, and Canada’s rise up the world rankings has been rapid. The women were 11th at the 2006 worlds, 12th in 2010, and had a top-eight finish at the 2012 London Olympics. A handful of women have been part of that improvement, making Sunday’s top-five finish even more satisfying.

“I think it’s elation, the culmination of a lot of hard work. Kim (Gaucher) has been with this team since 2001, Liz (Murphy) and Tamara (Tatham), Shona have been around almost as long as Kim,” said Thomaidis.

“They’ve been through some tough times. We couldn’t even play against the top teams in the world. They wouldn’t even play us. To see their elation after the game was just super rewarding. I think the young ones still don’t have a grasp of what this really means the gravity of the whole accomplishment.

They’re happy and they believe they belong, and that there’s good stuff yet to come and we’re going to continue to climb.”

Thestar.com

October 7, 2014 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Poor preps to blame for dismal Afrobasket show, says Hakizimana

 Hakizimana in action during the U-18 Afrobasket finals held in Kigali in 2010  


Hakizimana in action during the U-18 Afrobasket finals held in Kigali in 2010

THE NATIONAL MEN’Steam Point Guard Lionel Hakizimana believes it’s the right time to get back to the dressing room and embark on long term preparations that would help the nation to perform beter in future regional Afrobasket qualifiers.

 

The remarks came after Rwanda’s men basketball team lost their bid to qualify for next year’s afrobasket finals following a 61-69 loss to Uganda in the final match of the Zone V Qualifiers played on Sunday night in Kampala.

 

Hakizimana said, “We came into the tournament beaming with confidence and we really wanted to win a slot to next year’s Afrobasket finals,”

 

“Against Uganda, we started a on a very poor note, losing the first quarters. As the game progressed, there were signs of fatigue and yet our opponents were all in good physical shape,”

 

“We worked hard to stop them but luck was not our side. We have picked lessons and we need to go back and work hard to improve our game because it can clearly be seen that other nations have improved drastically compared to Rwanda,”
“We thought we were far ahead of our regional opponents following consecutive qualifications to Afrobasket finals since 2007 but this loss should give us a big lesson and morale to go back and practice more harder,”

 

“There is no way you can only train for 20 days and expect to beat teams which have spent months in regular preparations aimed at such regional qualifiers,” added Hakizimana.

 

Head coach MoiseMutokambali sighted lack of shooting as the sole reason Rwanda lost to Uganda. “Our main problem was in shooting.We were not good in utilizing three-pointers because in 24 attempts, we only managed to score three attempts as our opponents Uganda scoring 12 attempts in 28 efforts,” added Mutokambali.

 

The much more experienced Rwanda team that represented the region in last year’s Afro Basketball event succumbed to 11-15 loss but recovered to win by half time 30-28.

 

However, Uganda Silverbacks team lead by Captain Steven Omwonyand Norman Blick fought back strongly to take the third and final quarter beating Rwanda by eight points.

 

Omwony finished with a game high 25 points, while foreign based Ivan Lumanyika picked 13 points.

 

Kami Kabange who features for Uganda League Champions City Oilers top scored for the Rwanda team with 16 points.

 

Egypt who beat all the teams in the men’s category received the winner’s trophy at the prize giving ceremony, while Uganda’s Gazelles took the women’s trophy.

 

The loss means that Rwanda has lost twice and won twice to finish third in the regional tourments behind leaders and defending champions Egypt and Uganda who will represent the region at the Afrobasket finals and All Africa Games next year.

 

Rwanda will for the first time miss at the FibaAfrobasket finals having participated at the previous four editions.

 

In the women’s category, Uganda’s women side, The Gazelles sealed their place in the FibaAfrobasket championships for the first time in the history of Ugandan basketball after beating Kenya 64-61.

 

Egypt defeated Kenya 70-52 on Saturday but the latter finished second behind Uganda to seal a spot to compete at the Afrobasket finals. Egypt finished third in the overall standings.

 

 

October 1, 2014 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Uganda stands in Rwanda’s Afrobasket way

Coach Moise Mutokambali addressing his players in Kampala

Coach Moise Mutokambali addressing his players in Kampala

Sunday

Rwanda vs. Uganda

 RWANDA is primed to beat Uganda in the final game of the Fiba Zone V qualifiers so as to snatch a ticket to the Afrobasket championships.

Rwanda has registered two wins over Kenya and Somalia but lost once to defending champions Egypt in the opening game. Egypt has won all its two matches and have Somalia and Kenya to play against before winding up their campaign.

Now Rwanda must at least post a win over Uganda to at least be assured of snatching an Afrobasket ticket as Egypt is most likely to win the tournament and even qualify for the All Africa Games.

The head coach Moise Mutokambali said on Wednesday, “I must congratulate my players for staging a good show against Somalia. It’s was a vital win were players exhibited good display,”

“We have three days to rest and recover ahead of Sunday’s game against Uganda. It’s a must win for us so as to seal our qualification for Afrobasket. I will have a fully fit squad and its good news that Kenneth Gasana is back and in three days, he will be fully fit to boost our chances of winning our final game,” added Mutokambali.

On Wednesday, Rwanda defeated Somalia 85-71 to register her second win in the tournament. Rwanda, who defeated Kenya 82-77 on Tuesday, extended their fine recovery following the opening day 63-79 loss to defending champions Egypt.

Action resumes today with defending champions Egypt playing Kenya (men) and Egypt meeting Uganda (women).

On Saturday, win-less Somalia face Kenya (men), Kenya take on Egypt (women) and Kenya play Uganda (men).

Rwanda will be in action in a decisive match against hosts Uganda in the final match of the tournament on Sunday.

Egypt is the defending champions after beating Rwanda last year in the final. The other teams in the men’s category include; Uganda, Somalia, Kenya and Burundi.

The women’s category groups Uganda, Burundi, Egypt and Kenya.

The teams that win the event will automatically qualify for the Afro Basketball and next year’s All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. Uganda’s men’s team last won the Zone 5 championship in 2004.

The winning men and women’s teams in the eight-day championships will represent the region in the Afrobasket championships. They will also qualify for next year’s All Africa Games in Congo.

September 26, 2014 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Rwanda secures first victory in Zone V qualifiers

Sunday

Rwanda 63-79 Egypt

Tuesday

Kenya 77-82 Rwanda

Wednesday

Rwanda vs. Somalia 18.00

m_Rwanda secures first victory in Zone V qualifiers

Rwanda team which played against Kenya Yesterday

RWANDA MEN’S basketball team sailed past Kenya as they secured a82-77 win to register their first victory in the Fiba Zone V Qualifiers on Tuesday at the MTN Arena, Logogo in Uganda.

After a losing to defending champions Egypt 63-79, Rwanda had no choice but to win the match or risky hurting their ambitions of vying for the title.

MoiseMutokambali’s side played extremely well as they won all the four quarters. Aristide Mugabe and Kami Kabangu led the offensive as Rwanda won the first quarter 22-13 with the duo registering a combined 14pts in the last four minutes of the quarter.

At half time, Rwanda was still in lead 46-35 with Kami now amassing 19 points after pulling back 8 rebounds.

m_Rwanda secures first victory in Zone V qualifiers1

Kami Kabangu attempts to shoot in yesterday’s game against Kenya

In the third quarter, Aristide Mugabe and Cameron Bradley ran the show for Rwanda to help the national team secure the quarter with a 65-51 win over Kenya.

In the final quarter, Kenya put on a spirited show in their bid to close the gap with Desmond Owili opening the quarter with a baseline dunk but Bradley answered Kenya back with a deep to help Rwanda extend the lead 68-55.

With 25 seconds to the end of the game, Rwanda was in lead with 80-74 before Kenyan coach Ojukwu called for time out. Play resumed and with 6.5 seconds to go, Rwanda requested for time out and resumed moments later, snatching 82-77 to register a deserved win which has blown the men’s group wide open again.

Rwanda faces Somalia later in the evening in their third game of the tournament. Forward Kenneth Gasana who missed Tuesday’s tie with a groin injury might return back to guide the nations to a most-wanted win over a tricky and talented Somalia team.

September 24, 2014 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Rwanda deemed to opening defeat by Egypt

Forward Kami Kabange seen in action at the 2013 Fiba Afrobasket tournament, will be vital for Rwanda at the zonal tournament in Uganda where he plays his club game for City Oilers

Forward Kami Kabange seen in action at the 2013 Fiba Afrobasket tournament, will be vital for Rwanda at the zonal tournament in Uganda where he plays his club game for City Oilers

Sunday

Rwanda 63-79

RWANDA MEN’S basketball team registered a poor start in the 2014 Fiba/Zone V Championship title which kicked off on Sunday at the Lugogo Arena, in Kampala.

Rwanda, last year’s losing finalists could not maintain the Egyptians who registered a 79-63 to pick their first win in the tournament.

Despite having a slim 34-33 win over Egypt at half time, Moise Mutokambali’s outfit could not contain the Egyptians are in Kampala to make a mark after a disastrous World Cup championship poor display.

Last year, Rwanda lost to Egypt in last year’s edition. Rwanda lost 57-96 in the group stages before another 76-82 loss in the final held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Rwanda, who finished runner-up last year behind Egypt, will be hoping to go a step further this time round, although the North African side still remains the overwhelming favourites.

Rwanda face Somalia in their second match of the tournament slated for Tuesday at 17.00 at Lugogo indoor stadium in Kampala

Defending champions Egypt is the team to beat in this tournament whereas Rwanda, Somalia and Kenya will fancy their chances too.

Afrobasket is the African championship and the Zone V finalists will qualify for the continental showpiece that will be held in Congo next year.

They will also qualify for the next All Africa Games, doubling as a qualifier for the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games.

September 23, 2014 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Rwanda goes for Fiba Zone V Title in Uganda

m_Quartet begins race to final

THE NATIONAL MEN’S basketball team is in Uganda ready to fight tooth and nail in ensuring that they emerge victorious at the end of the 2014 FIBA/Zone V regional tournament which tips off in Kampala, Uganda from September 22 at MTN Arena in Lugogo.

The regional tournament which also serves as 2015 Fiba/Afro-basket and All Africa Games qualifier has attracted Zone V countries such as reigning champions Egypt, hosts Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

Head coach Moise Mutokambali departed to Kampala last night aboard with a 12-man team. He said on Friday, “We are embarking on a tricky journey but focused on winning the title,”

“I have a solid and confident team which believes in winning. We have time to rectify some of the key issues that would let us down in defense but the rest of the departments are oaky and players are fully fit to ensure that the job is well done,”

Rwanda who finished runners-up last year, have vowed to make amends and win the title but they are aware of the tough challenge en-route to the final.

Though the challenge for the title quest will be tough considering the state of participating countries which have improved their style of play, Mutokambali remains confident that Rwanda has talented and experienced players ready to face anyone and win the title.

“We have assembled a very good squad which has valuable experience needed to shine at this level. We know every nation has made improvements, some have summoned their players featuring in Europe and USA but I do remain convinced that Rwanda will emerge victorious at the end of the tournament,”

“Our ambition is to win the title and be able to qualify for the Afro-basket finals, for a fifth consecutive time,” added Mutokambali.

Though Egypt is regarded as favourites to win the tournament, they couldn’t register any point during the group stages of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Africa was represented by Angola, Egypt and Senegal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup this month where eventual winners of the tournament, the U.S retained their world cup title.

The team’s biggest loss was to Brazil who defeated them 128-65. Meanwhile, Angola managed only one win, beating Korea 80-69.

Senegal was the only African team that managed to progress to the round of 16 after a tough fight in the first stage.

In last year’s edition held in Tanzania, Rwanda lost to Egypt in the finals but went ahead to qualify to the African tournament on wild card, finishing 10th out of 16 countries.

The finalists in both categories (Men & Women) at the Fiba Zone V tournament will represent the region at these two continental showpieces.

The National Basketball team: Ally AboubakarBarame, Curtis Bradley Cameron, Kami Kabange, Kenneth Herbert Gasana, Aristide Mugabe, Ali KazingufuKubwimana, Pascal KarekeziRurangirwa, Lionel Hakizimana, Sunny Munyandamutsa, Olivier Shyaka, ElieKaje and Steven Hagumintwali.

 

September 20, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Tournament 0 Comment