Rockets in seventh heaven as they aim for top four finish in final weekend of the regular season

Reading Rockets (15-7) will be looking to secure a top four finish in NBL Division One this weekend when they travel to the north for their final regular season games as they face rivals Team Northumbria (15-7) on Saturday afternoon (4pm tip-off) before matching up against the league’s basement team Lancashire Spinners (0-22) on Sunday afternoon (3.45pm tip-off). Rockets secured their seventh victory on the spin last weekend when they defeated league leaders Team Solent Kestrels, claiming a hard fought 78-66 victory to put themselves in contention for a third place finish. If Rockets finish the season with an equal number of wins as Northumbria and Worthing, they have the head to head over Worthing, who are currently fifth placed (14-=8). The Reading team would need to beat Lancashire Spinners on Sunday should Saturday’s affair not go their way to make sure of a top four finish and a home tie in the quarter-finals of the play-offs, scheduled for Sunday 8th April.

Rockets have faced both opponents at home already this season in league play securing victories on each occasion. The Reading outfit captured an 84-72 win most recently over Team Northumbria and also comfortably beat Lancashire Spinners 107-67 back in January but face a tough final league double header this coming weekend.

Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was really pleased to see his team chalk up win number seven in a row as well as deliver a much improved performance but knows this will mean nothing should his team falter during the final weekend of the regular season. The Spanish play-caller said,

I am really happy with last weekend’s win against Solent and the players put in a much better performance than in some of our recent successes so this is very positive for us heading into this weekend’s tough double header. Defensively, we were a lot better but know that this can improve further with more work needed on offence for us to really maximise our potential.

Whilst it is a positive time for us, it is important that we now focus on our game against a very good Team Northumbria this Saturday before we look ahead to Sunday. Sports Central has always been a difficult place to get a win and none more so this weekend with third place on the line for both teams. Preparation for this game will be crucial and if we are able to keep working on being the best version of ourselves and deliver what we know we are capable of then there is no reason why we can’t secure the all important win. We know the talent Coach Mark’s (Steutel, Team Northumbria Head Coach) roster has and there is no doubt he will have them ready to play as he has done so well in past end of seasons. An exciting time and we will be ready!

Rockets go into this weekend’s crunch double header with no current injury concerns: however the Under 18 duo of Adrian Nosa Castillo and Iñigo Perez Baena both remain out of action with injury and games themselves. The Reading team could make it nine consecutive wins to finish their campaign and be a real threat in the play-offs as they look to pick up their first piece of silverware in almost four years.

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