With the Riders having booked their place in this Sunday’s BBL Cup Final against Newcastle Eagles almost a month ago, Head Coach Rob Paternostro has explained that only now can his side start focusing on the challenge ahead.
“Today was the first time we could really talk about the cup final because we’ve had a lot of important games leading up to it,” said Paternostro who led his side to glory in the competition last year. “Finally today in practice we were able to focus on it. I know we are all looking forward to it because we understand, especially the guys who have been there before, what a great event it is.”
The Riders will go into the final off the back of a tough run of games, including a physically demanding double-overtime win over Sheffield on Saturday. The Riders Head Coach is confident that his players would not have any problems recovering in time for Sunday.
“It’s pretty special to be a part of the fan base we have…” Coach Paternostro
“I can’t see that we will have any problems recovering from the Sheffield game on Saturday. We have an eight day gap before and we will have an opportunity to practice this week and focus on Newcastle. For a cup final, it’s always important that you get time to practice but, ultimately, it will all come down to who is better on the day.”
“I think we saw the impact the fans can have on Saturday night. It’s pretty special to be a part of the fan base we have and anyone that has been around here for the past few seasons has seen the impact our crowd can make. It’s a great feeling for our players to hear and see that support; it can certainly help raise your game. I know I have had many conversations with players about how important our fans have been to wins we’ve had.”
Sunday’s tie against Newcastle Eagles will be a re-run of last year’s final which saw Riders pick up their first piece of silverware of the season. Whilst Paternostro will be hoping for a similar outcome this year, he is more than aware of the talent that Newcastle possess.
“We know we are going to be playing against a really good team. They have many players that have had a lot of success in this league before and I also really like a lot of the new players they have bought it this season.”
“I have had a opportunities to watch them on tape and they are talented. I think that for all basketball fans throughout the country this game is going to be a huge celebration of basketball and it is nice to see two good sides going into the event.”