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13 and counting as Rockets keep up the heat at the top of NBL Division One

Reading Rockets (14-3) overcame a tough test last weekend with an away win against Team Solent Kestrels 88-81and an impressive home win against Bradford Dragons 108-85 to keep up the heat on league leaders Team Northumbria (16-3) and second placed Manchester Magic (14-3) as they head into this weekend’s game against the division’s basement team Westminster Warriors (0-15). The Berkshire outfit will travel to the Capital on Sunday (3pm tip-off) as they look to extend their winning run to 14 games with nine games of the NBL Division One regular season remaining. The Reading team defeated their upcoming opponents only two weeks ago at Rivermead Leisure Complex, running out winners by 79 points to 55 as the Warriors remain winless from their 15 games and staring relegation in the face with 11 games still to play for the Londoners.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was understandably a happy man after last weekend’s double success and was very pleased with the performances his team put in against quality opposition but knows that will mean nothing with a slip up this weekend against Westminster. The Spaniard understands his team must put in a better performance against the Warriors than they did two week’s ago. He said,

“I am really proud of my players after this weekend’s performances. We showed great character in both games and played some great basketball but most importantly came out of the weekend with two wins. We are not thinking about anything yet other than keeping the momentum we have going, continuing to put in good performances, but crucially continuing to be better every time we are together; this is the key and we will be working on some things we are not so happy with this week.”

“Last time against Westminster, although we won comfortably in the end, we did not give the performance we wanted and we will be looking to change that this time around. Getting the win will be the most important thing of course but that will come through performance and that’s where our focus will be this week so we don’t slip up against a team that is fighting for their lives in the division.”

“We continue to focus on one practice, one week, and one game at a time whilst enjoying what we are doing. We are really happy but nothing is won yet so we want more and the players are working so hard to hopefully achieve something special this season.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s match up at Capital City Academy with no new injury concerns to date. Shooting guard Joel Keeble looks like he will now be sidelined for the remainder of the season after complications with his wrist operation which is a blow for the 21 year old and his team as it was originally thought the Ipswich-born player would only be out for 4-5 weeks. However the Reading team will be buoyed by the form of Chris Hooper, Craig Ponder, and Danny Carter who all made huge contributions during last weekend’s wins against Team Solent and Bradford which was complemented by some really improved performances from Paulin Jardim and Ibu Jassey Demba. Rockets will be hoping to keep healthy as the countdown begins to the conclusion of the NBL Division One campaign with the Berkshire club in fine form but with it all to do to overcome Team Northumbria and Manchester Magic in what promises to be a thrilling title run-in.

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