Photo credit: Muzogeye Plaisir https://twitter.com/MUZOGEYEPlaisir
One week after completing a historic comeback in the BK Basketball League finals, the Patriots staged the first ever championship parade in Rwanda.
Common in North America and Europe, a championship parade is a trophy display tour and an act of appreciation to the fans and the city.
Donning white t-shirts, jubilant Patriots raised their hard-earned hardware aboard a double-decker city sightseeing bus. Excitement was in the air as the triumphant ballers waved at their equally thrilled supporters across Kigali.
After winning game 1 of the best of seven series, the champs dropped three straight games and found themselves on the verge of being dethroned by the highly determined REG squad.
One game at a time, the defending champions dug themselves out of the seemingly sealed hole. After an impressive game 6 win in front of the record-setting crowd at the state-of-the-art Kigali Arena, Henry Mwinuka’s side took care of business in a hotly contested game 7, barely 24 hours after starving off elimination for the second time.
Midway through the series, many had written them off. At the end of the unforgettable finals, a statement was made. Do not underestimate the heart of a champion.
Before the championship buzz wears off, the three-time champs will be back at work. This time, preparing for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers, tentatively scheduled to take place from 15th to 20th October in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The inaugural season of the BAL will be tipped off in February and its much anticipated play-offs will be hosted by the Kigali Arena later next year. The new continental league is a product of a collaboration between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the sport’s global governing body, FIBA.
Rwanda’s representatives are placed in group D with City Oilers from Uganda, JKT from Tanzania and Dynamo from Burundi. Ethiopia’s Hawassa City and Malawian champions, Brave Hearts are also in the same pool.