Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Cheshire Phoenix (CUP)
Where and when:
Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 11 December
It will require something really special for Cheshire Phoenix to prevent Esh Group Eagles Newcastle reaching a fifth consecutive BBL Cup Final on Friday.
The unbeaten holders have one foot in the January showpiece at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena after an overwhelming 113-85 success in the first leg away from home last Sunday.
The biggest first-leg deficit to be overturned in a two-legged BBL tie of this kind was a 15-point home loss, followed by a 21-point away win, for Sheffield Sharks.
But possessing some of the league’s most potent scorers themselves, Phoenix will not give up hope of pulling off what would likely be one of the biggest shocks in BBL history.
Last time they met:
Cheshire Phoenix 85 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 113 (BBL Cup Semi-Final first leg, Cheshire Oaks Arena, 6 December 2015)
Eagles: WWWWWW
Phoenix: LLLWWW
Three Points:
  • At 28 points Eagles equalled fifth largest win by an away team in the first leg of a two-leg BBL tie
  • Eagles guard Rahmon Fletcher became the only player this season to earn five All-Star Five starting berths, thanks to his performance in the first leg
  • Eagles have won each of the past six meetings between these teams
What they say:
Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy: “I liked our mental approach towards the game at Cheshire. I thought we were really focused in and we needed to be as Cheshire came out extremely aggressive offensively.
“We attempt to put [the aggregate advantage] out of our mind. We will look at the games we just played, make appropriate adjustments and aim to play better this week. Our goal is continual improvement to get us ready for the second half of the season.
On his own injury recovery:
“I am still very much in the hands my doctors and physios as to the optimum time for coming back. Obviously, with the way we played the past weekend there is no need to accelerate the timetable unnecessarily.”
Phoenix forward David Aliu: “Our next game is going to be a massive, uphill battle but nothing is impossible.
“Newcastle are a great team and it shows in their play. Those guys have played together for a number of seasons and it clearly pays off having that unit and not caring who scores.”