Rockets enter final eight games with tricky double header

Reading Rockets (15-3) will enter the final eight games of their NBL Division One campaign starting with a double header weekend as they visit the East Midlands on Saturday afternoon to take on the Leicester Warriors (6-13) at Braunstone Leisure Centre (3pm tip-off) before entertaining London Lituanica (8-9) back in Reading on Sunday afternoon at Rivermead Leisure Complex (5pm tip-off). Rockets blistering first half display against bottom team Westminster Warriors (0-17), where they led 62-27 at half time, resulted in win number 14 in a row as they beat their so far winless opposition by 95 points to 77 to move into second place above Manchester Magic (14-3), who claimed National Trophy honours as they beat Sunday’s opponents London Lituanica by 81 points to 59 in the final. The Berkshire outfit have yet to face the Lithuanian opposition this term but have already beaten Saturday’s opponents Leicester Warriors 93-73 back in mid-November at Bohunt School.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was forced to use the old cliche of ‘a game of two halves’ after last weekend’s victory over Westminster Warriors after seeing an emphatic first half performance but a second half performance that shows work is needed for his team ahead of a tricky double header weekend. The Spaniard said,

“I was really happy with the performance in the first 20 minutes, we were outstanding and played some fantastic basketball and this gives me a lot of encouragement. But for whatever reason in the second half we didn’t perform as well and giving up 50 points is not something we are or can be happy with and this is the reflection we must take from this game and move on this week. There is no need to dwell on this at all but it is something we can definitely work on as we prepare for two more tough games starting with the visit to Leicester on Saturday.”

“Both teams will undoubtably give us a physical challenge and believe they can win the game with us all needing to from our respective positions in the league table. It is important we take one game at a time, prepare well for each opponent and be ready for the challenges they are likely to throw our way. It is about continuing to learn, build, and execute in this part of the season and not look further ahead than our next game and that is exactly what myself and my players will be doing.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s double header in sensational form with 14 wins in a row, a feat they have not seen since the 2008/2009 season. The Berkshire club will be hoping to keep a fully fit squad ahead of their two games in the knowledge that shooting guard Joel Keeble remains sidelined and Under 19 Ibu Jassey Demba was forced to rest during last weekend’s game due to a knee complaint. With both Manchester Magic and Team Northumbria in double header action as well as playing each other on Sunday, it is a massive weekend for all three teams at the top of Division One and could have an interesting say heading into the last five weeks of the regular season.

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