Newcastle Eagles target another Cup success

FABULOUS Flournoy is confident Newcastle Eagles will confirm their status as the most successful basketball team in the country when they take on Leicester Riders in the BBL Cup final tomorrow.

The Eagles will be defending the Cup they won against Plymouth last season, a victory that proved the first leg of a clean sweep of all four domestic trophies.

Flournoy's side have won 12 of their 15 major finals since the American took over as player-coach in 2002, but face a stiff test against a Leicester side that secured a cherished league win on Tyneside earlier in the campaign.

The Riders have been talking up their chances ahead of tomorrow's showdown at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, but having seen a succession of clubs attempt to dethrone Newcastle, only to fall by the wayside, the Eagles boss is fully expecting Leicester to go the same way.

"They are building it up," said Flournoy. "They are building themselves up as the oldest franchise in the league making a resurgence.

"They have pretensions to win the league, they are top of the table, they have an opportunity to focus on this silverware and in one sense of the word dethrone us. They are trying to rewrite a little bit of history and create a bit of a legacy for themselves.

"For me, and I'll go on record and say it, this is a pivotal game for us. They are hanging their hopes on winning this and starting a new up trend for their club. For me, it is just another club for us to kill off.

"We killed off Plymouth, even though they are still playing, we killed off London Towers, we killed off Sheffield, we killed off Milton Keynes, we killed off Cheshire, we killed off Brighton, we killed off Guildford.

"This is just another team making its way. Call me arrogant for saying it, but it is the truth."

While Flournoy is no stranger to celebrating final success, tomorrow's game will be a first opportunity for some of Newcastle's key pre-season recruits to celebrate silverware in the British game.

Damon Huffman and Kareem Maddox, two of the stars of the Eagles' season so far, are playing in their first British final, and Flournoy is urging them to make the most of the opportunity.

"We are going to do as well as we possibly can and leave it out on the floor," he said. "For some players in our team, it's their first time being in this situation. I don't care what sport you play in, or where you have played, it is hard to get into finals.

"Players play their whole career in all sports and never make it into a final, so this is a rarity. This is special."

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