Reading Rockets (14-7) will look to extend their six game winning streak this weekend as they take on the favourites for the NBL Division One title in the shape of National Trophy winners Team Solent Kestrels (17-3) on Saturday evening at Bohunt School, 5pm tip-off. The Rockets recorded two vital wins in the hunt for a top four finish in the division and home court advantage in the play-off quarter finals by beating Leicester Warriors in overtime on Saturday night 105-102 before returning to Reading and capturing a 109-87 victory against Derby Trailblazers. After their recent National Trophy success, Team Solent Kestrels are also one of the form teams in the league having won their last seven games and 13 out of the last 14 in league play. The two teams have met three times already this season in the National Cup, National Trophy, and league with Saturday’s visitors in charge of the series 3-0 having captured an 89-67 win in the quarter-final of the National Cup, a 93-78 victory in the National Trophy, and a 70-59 success in league play most recently.
Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was pleased to see his team pick up two important wins against two very competitive teams but knows continued work is needed at the defensive end after a duo of high scoring affairs. The Reading play-caller said,
Team Solent have been excellent this season and Coach Matt (Guymon, Team Solent Kestrels’ Head Coach) has done an exceptional job in only their second year back in the league and we know Saturday’s game will be a very hard fought encounter. They have strength and depth at every position but in our last game against them we did a much better job and I believe that with that and our improved performances we have a great chance of securing another win. It is going to be tough and we are really going to need our fans at Bohunt but it should be a really exciting game and we cannot wait to play!
Rockets go into Saturday’s match-up hoping for some better news on the injury front to their Under 19 trio. Forward Alex Drincic has been out of action with tendonitis in his foot but returned to training earlier this week and should be available to play but will be a game time decision. Spaniard Adrian Nosa Castillo is still carrying an ankle injury and will also be assessed before the weekend with his Under 18 team also in action on the same day but it’s likely the 6’4 forward will miss out. His fellow countryman Iñigo Perez Baena will also be a game time decision after corrective surgery on a broken nose. The recently turned 18 year old had manipulation on his injured nose he sustained in an Under 18 game two weeks ago but is keen to play heading into the final few weeks of the season.
After losing five out of six games before their current six game winning streak, the Rockets will be looking to put their mid-season blip behind them as the regular season comes to crunch time with both teams vying for slightly different objectives in the next three games but with all to play for with the post season approaching.
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