It’s the biggest weekend of the season so far, as Newcastle Eagles defend their BBL Cup title.
They go up against Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Sunday, a team who of course, they share the lead at the top of the BBL Championship with.
Unsurprisingly, Fab Flournoy has nothing but huge respect for Riders and paid tribute to both his opposite number and former star player ahead of the showpiece game.
“They are absolutely glued together by Rob Paternostro and Drew Sullivan” explained Flournoy.
“Rob has done an outstanding job to mould his group together and ensure that they have all committed to playing defence.
“Meanwhile Drew seems to continue playing such a high level basketball every single week” added the Eagles play-caller.
As for Paternostro, he repaid the compliment by expressing his endorsement of two new faces in the Eagles’ camp who only joined the Tyneside club last summer.
He said, “Kareem Maddox and Damon Huffman have really impressed me recently.
“I knew they were talented, but as they’ve got more comfortable with the league and have got to know what Fab wants from them, they’ve really improved.”
Perhaps a little unusually for January, the teams have only met once so far this season, with Riders coming out on top by claiming an excellent win at Sport Central in the league.
Therefore revenge will be near the top of the agenda for the Eagles, although Riders will also be driven by a desire to make up for their loss at the NIA in the BBL Play-off Final last season.
There’s not only the Cup Final to savour this weekend, but also a trio of games in the BBL Championship too.
Manchester Giants host Glasgow Rocks tonight, buoyed by the acquisition of former Great Britain player Nick George who returns to the club.
And, that is just the kind of boost which the Giants needed according to a delighted Stefan Gill.
“Practice has been intense and really enjoyable since Nick joined” claimed the playmaker. “He’s all energy, and we’re all really excited about having him in the team.”
Giants are engaged in a real dogfight to make the play-offs with just two wins separating five teams. The league is currently split into two halves, with six teams possessing winning records and six with losing records, with the Rocks still clinging on to their positive status in sixth spot.
Elsewhere, it’s been a really poor last month or so for London Lions, but they will take real heart from their excellent effort against Riders in front of the Sky Sports cameras earlier in the week.
They can also get themselves well and truly pumped up against visiting Cheshire Phoenix by seeking to avenge a recent home floor loss in the BBL Trophy.
Lastly tonight, there’s a chance for One Health Sharks Sheffield to continue showing their green shoots of recovery as they look to erase the memory of a dreadful first three months of the season.
They head to Mersey Tigers who are not only still without a BBL Championship win, but also still smarting from being soundly beaten in the BBL Trophy last weekend by EBL side Worthing Thunder.
Enjoy the games!