Rockets look to continue good league form

Reading Rockets (5-1) will look to put the disappointment of their National Cup exit last Sunday behind them when they face another double header this weekend in NBL Division One. The Berkshire outfit will host league front-runners Loughborough Student Riders (5-1) on Saturday evening, 5pm tip-off at Bohunt School, before travelling to Barking on Sunday afternoon to face Kent Crusaders (3-4), 4pm tip-off. Rockets extended their good run in league play last Saturday when they were victorious over Derby Trailblazers, securing a 92-76 away win to move to five wins from six games and third in the league table. The Reading team were unable to make it a perfect weekend as they fell short against Team Solent Kestrels who played a great game and defeated the Rockets 89-67 to advance to the semi-finals of the National Cup.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés had mixed emotions after last weekend’s games but knows that the journey his team is on will be a long one and with two more competitive games ahead of him and his group this weekend, he is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. The Spaniard said,

We put in a really positive performance last Saturday against Derby and came away with a very important win but on Sunday we really did not perform and credit to Team Solent, they really exploited us and deserved to advance to the semi-finals. This is the game we must review and be better from and that is what we will do starting from our first practice of the week.

In the league, we are in a very healthy position still and have two more opportunities this weekend to compete and be better against two very good teams. Loughborough finished last season on the front foot and played some excellent basketball They have continued to do so at the start of this season and have become one of the teams to beat in this division. For us, they are coming to our home court where we have been very good so far and we are looking for a response after Sunday’s performance so I am expecting an intense battle with both teams holding a 5 and 1 record.

On Sunday we will then turn our attention to Kent Crusaders, another well coached team that has young talent ready to compete and win so we will need to be ready for this whatever the result is on Saturday. We need to continue to make sure we are taking one game at a time and learning and working for each other every time we step on the floor. It’s a time for hard work but a time to also enjoy what we are doing.

Rockets go into this weekend’s double header with some injury concerns. Point guard Scotty Hendricks injured his ankle during Saturday’s win against Derby and despite playing through Sunday’s defeat to Team Solent it will be touch and go as to whether he is fit in time for the visit of Loughborough this Saturday. His American counterpart Tim Gill has a back complaint but the Berkshire outfit are hopeful it is nothing serious and expect the 23 year old to be fit for both games this weekend. Australian Declan Soukup is expected to return to the fold after missing last weekend through illness as is Under 18 Adrian Nosa Castillo who was also out with a sickness bug.


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Photos courtesy of Shaun Colley