Malcolm Delpeche is banking on another European boost as Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles eye a much-needed return to form in Romania tonight.
The men in black launched a seven-game winning streak on the back of last month’s impressive homecourt victory against Valmiera Glass VIA.
And a timely victory against in-form CSO Voluntari would represent another vital reset following lacklustre losses at the hands of Surrey and Bristol.
“We must use this week’s trip in our favour and look at it as an opportunity to put things right,” said Delpeche ahead of the European North Basketball League’s (ENBL) return.
“It was a strong performance against Valmiera that started our run of wins in November — it was a hard-fought victory that got us going in the right direction.
“We look at every game as a challenge but the ENBL games can be more than that. Right now it’s the perfect opportunity to reset.”
Delpeche was at a loss to explain last Friday’s fourth quarter capitulation at the hands of former club Bristol.
But an honest appraisal of a below-par performance was swiftly followed by a heartfelt pledge to put things right.
And Delpeche is delighted that the Eagles have an early chance to put two dire defeats to bed against in-form Voluntari.
“Being in the ENBL adds another layer of experience and opportunity where the players are concerned,” he added.
“Playing against teams from across the continent helps us to grow as individuals and as a team.
“We’re all experienced when it comes to domestic basketball but as players we can get better competing on the international stage.
“It’s not just us — the league in general is benefitting from having regular representation in the European leagues.
“I think the guys at London, Caledonia and Bristol would all agree that there’s a lot of different experiences to be gained from playing against teams from beyond the British Basketball League.”
Group B pacesetters Voluntari will be a tough nut to crack after the Romanians made a flying start to the season at home and abroad.
Ainars Bagatskis’s men sit top of the ENBL standings with a 3-1 record and are second in Liga Nationala with eight wins from 11.
Friday’s 88-85 loss to unbeaten league leaders Cluj-Napoca was Voluntari’s first defeat in nine games in all competitions.
But Tajh Green echoes Delpeche’s belief that another trip into the unknown represents the perfect opportunity to reboot.
“Every game can be a bounceback game and defeat against the Flyers has added fuel to our fire heading into the Voluntari fixture,” said the in-form forward.
“It’s a different league. We have to put the British Basketball League out of our mind and focus on playing a European team.
“It’s a very different challenge. It’s a different style of basketball but if we play our way then we’ll be fine.”
Newcastle sit 2-1 in Group B following back-to-back wins against Basket Brno and Valmiera.
But dangerman Rashard Marque Odomes represents a serious challenge to the Eagles’ bid to claim three ENBL victories on the bounce.
The all-action Alaskan dropped 26 points on Cluj last week and leads CSO in scoring (18 points per game) and efficiency (20.8).
Odomes brings an average of four rebounds and three assists to the table and has been pivotal to Voluntari’s hot streak at home.
The Romanians have won six successive games at the famously hostile Sala Gabriela Szabo — including a dominant 89-68 victory against ENBL rivals RSW Liege Basket.
Tonight’s clash tips off at 5pm with all the action screened with live commentary exclusively at newcastle-eagles.com/live