British_Basketball_League_(emblem)Neil Watson is looking forward to playing in front of an expected 10,000-strong crowd at the Barclaycard Arena on Sunday as he aims to help Leicester Riders claim the BBL Cup.

The American is in his second season and was denied silverware during his rookie campaign as the Riders were beaten by Esh Group Eagles Newcastle in the 2015 BBL Trophy Final.

And, Watson feels his side are ready for the challenge as they go up against the unbeaten Eagles for the first time this season.

“We are very prepared for Sunday,” he insisted.
“We have a coach who prepares us properly for every game.
“Just being in the position to win silverware is my motivation – but I also love playing in front of big crowds and that can help raise my game.

“For us, it’s not about the personal battle of handing them their first loss, it’s the battle with ourselves to complete our goal of winning the Cup Final.

“If we can rebound and defend for the duration of the game, I think our first goal will be accomplished.”

Eagles’ guard Rahmon Fletcher won the MVP award in last season’s Cup Final and Watson is relishing the opportunity to go up against his counterpart.

“I’m really looking forward to the match-up – simply because he’s what I consider one of the best point guards in the league, and in any sport you want to play against the top players and teams.”

The Eagles go into the Final with a 100% record this season, and Drew Lasker believes his side will have to play a near-perfect game to keep that record in tact and pick up another piece of silverware.

“We will need to play a close to perfect game in order to defend our title, as Riders are a great team,” he declared.

“The keys in the final will be getting easy buckets.

“Usually in the Cup final, the shooting isn’t always up to par so we have to find ways to get easy buckets to get our confidence up offensively – whether it’s on the break or offensive putbacks.

“I think it will come down to controlling the tempo, and it will be a power struggle as both teams play at such a contrasting pace.”

Prior to the Final taking place on Sunday, there are also two other games.

Plymouth University Raiders travel to NBL Division 1 side Essex Leopards in the last BBL Trophy First Round encounter, while fourth meets third in the BBL Championship with Sheffield Sharks hosting Worcester Wolves.