Next weekend on Sat 19 and Sun 20th Jan Reading Rockets will travel to Essex University where both their U 18 teams will be challenging for the titles whilst the Rockets Ladies will also be representing the club in the Senior Cup final less than 24 hours later on the same court.
This is the first representation of 3 teams in the National Cup Finals by Rockets in its 21 year history and is a true reflection of the developments of Rockets Academy programme, especially the Girls one as half the Senior Ladies team is comprised of U 18 Academy girls. The Academy programme is overseen by G.B. U 18 Junior Men Head Coach and Commonwealth Assistant Head Coach Alan Keane who’s in his third season at Rockets.
Ladies Head Coach David Sanchez, is thrilled to have the U 18 Girls Head Coach Blai Benlloch Villagrasa as his assistant and together the Spaniards have made major contributions to the female game in their 3 years with Rockets. With the Junior Men programme also having grown in stature since Keane’s arrival, the future looks very rosy for Rockets. Coach Keane has also got the Senior Men into the National Trophy semi-final stage.
Rockets Ladies reach the National Cup Final
Their coach David Sanchez comments:
From a coach’s perspective it is fantastic to reach a final. This one is my second year as the head coach of the ladies team and we were thirsty to get into a final with these girls. From my point of view, this year was going to be hard, as we have many young girls but they bring lots of energy. The semifinal game was really hard: Anglia Ruskin was fighting until the end and it was a great game to demonstrate the level we can reach this year. We look forward to preparing for and playing the final. Both teams have a lot of talent and in my opinion the winner of the game will be the one who maintains their concentration and makes less mistakes. We feel ready for the challenge and excited to have this chance to bring the trophy to the club.
Andrea Gomez, one of Rockets’ players says:
The feeling of getting into the finals after defeating an amazing team such as Anglia Ruskin was amazing. We have been working really hard to get to play as we want to and with FAMILY spirit and even though we still have a lot to improve, that game was a reflection of that hard work and TEAM spirit that we have. We all are so excited to be in the final and losing is not in our minds. We want to enjoy and have a game that we all can happily remember.
We have a great team in front of us that plays really well. I’m sure it’s going to be a really hard game for both sides and the winner will be the one who wants it more. I’m sure each one of us will give the 120% to get that W and enjoy TOGETHER.
It’s always a challenge to play a final, but we feel ready for it.
Rockets Under 18 Girls in the National Cup Final
Looking forward to the game, their coach, Blai Benlloch comments:
“I am really excited and proud of my team for reaching the cup final as I think they deserve to be there after showing a high level of determination and competitiveness in the first part of this season. We can’t wait to play and enjoy the final as it promises to be a very special day!”
Saffie Jarju, one of the team, says:
“Playing in the finals is a huge achievement for us and an exciting experience in our basketball careers. It will give us a chance to play to our full potential and be strong together as a team.”
Rockets Junior Men in the Under 18 National Cup Final
Ben Fisher is the coach of Rockets Under 18 boys and comments
“To reach a national final is always such a special achievement and we are all really proud of our guys in being able to achieve this feat. Haringey will be a tough opponent but if we can continue to commit to everything we do and be relentless with everything over the forty minutes then we have a great chance of success through our performance. It promises to be a great weekend for our club and we can’t wait to compete.”
The team’s captain is David Obediah and he says:
“We are all really looking forward to playing in the cup final and for most of us it is the first opportunity to do so. We have been working really hard this season to be the best version of ourselves and in turn be a difficult team to beat. We will go out and give everything against Haringey as we try to put in a performance worthy of a national final and ultimately a win.”