It’s the big one for the Sheffield Sharks as they vie for BBL Playoff Final glory in front of the whole nation this weekend.
Excitement is rife amongst Sheffield basketball fans as their team take on the Leicester Riders for all the marbles at the London O2 arena on Sunday in the biggest British basketball game of the year.
As well as an NBA-sized crowd of 16,000 fans expected in the O2, the game is set to be broadcast on the BBC Red Button and online as the national spotlight shines on the Sharks.
Sheffield find themselves in the big dance after brilliantly surviving huge scares against London Lions and Glasgow Rocks in the previous two rounds.
Sharks’ opposition doesn’t get any easier in the final either, as Riders go into the game dreaming of a BBL treble and are favourites to make that dream a reality. In six previous meetings this season, Leicester have won four, Sheffield have taken one game and one match finished level.
Speaking at Sheffield’s last press conference before his team travels to London, Coach Atiba Lyons said that he believes the underdog tag will actually favour his side come Sunday.
“When your back’s against the wall and everyone else expects them to win that’s when you have your best basketball sometimes.” Coach Lyons said. “We’ve got to believe in ourselves and believe in that.”
Sharks guard Jerrold Brooks was recently named to the 2015-2016 Molten BBL Team of the Year after a brilliant season. Just like his coach however, Brooks remains focused on the task in hand.
“It’s a great feeling and I’m happy to be in it” Brooks said of the award, “but that’s not my goal, I’m trying to win a Championship with this team.”
Captain Mike Tuck said that his team will be ready for the huge crowd when they step on to the 02 court on Sunday.
“I’ve played in front of crowds that big before, Jerrold has, probably T.J. (Robinson) has, so we’re used to that type of thing, but this will be the first time in a while that we’ve played in front of that big a crowd!”
“When the bright lights turn on, everybody shows up, so it should be a good game.”
Tune in on the BBC Red Button or the BBC Sport website at 3:30PM on Sunday to see Sharks battle for the Playoff crown.