With the chance to be crowned a BBL Cup champion on the horizon, Hackney’s Darius Defoe says he is ready to give his all and fulfil a dream.
The 30-year-old power forward will line up for the Newcastle Eagles on Sunday as they take on Glasgow Rocks for the season’s first piece of silverware.
A win would give Defoe a third cup victory in his career and would also offer a chance for redemption after the Eagles lost an agonising encounter during last season’s final with Leicester Riders – eventually going down 72-69.
That result was the first of two heartbreakers as the Eagles progressed to the play-off finals only to come up short against Worcester Wolves.
However, Newcastle are flying high so far this year and Defore is determined to deliver success for the fans at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena this weekend.
“The BBL Cup is everyone’s dream, “ he said. “It’s a chance for us to get out there and play in a big final and hopefully produce the goods.
“It’s the first piece of silverware that is up for grabs so I’m desperate to win it and put the ghosts of last year to bed.
“It’s going to be a tough game playing Glasgow but we will go there and take it like any other game and try to win. We are going to play hard and hopefully lift that cup.
“They have got a strong team. They have got Kieron Achara, GB international, he’s another good player. They’ve also got Sterling Davis too so it’s going to be a tough game.
“The BBL Cup would mean a lot to the fans and that’s the main incentive to try and win it. To have the first silverware, for the fans, it would mean a lot to them.
“We have to try and bring it home for them and for all those who won’t be able to make the trip to Birmingham with us.”
Newcastle are in good form this season and currently sit top of the BBL Championship table with just one loss to their name.
And, after seeing off a spirited Sheffield Sharks side to make it through to the Cup final, Defoe is hoping his side can keep up their impressive run.
“It’s been a really tough season with hard matches,” he added. “But we’ve been taking care of business and looking after each other, playing hard and making sure we all do our jobs.
“We just keep playing hard as each game comes. You have to keep it going. We have to just keep playing every game like it’s our last.”
The BBL Cup Final is a highlight of the UK basketball calendar. The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham is expected to sell out on Sunday 11 January with tickets available from www.theticketfactory.com/bblcupfinal or via 0844 338 8000

By Marios Papaloizou, Sportsbeat