Flyers looking to emulate their 2010 National Cup final triumph
THE Bristol Academy Flyers will be looking to emulate their 2010 success and be crowned 2013 National Cup champions when they face off against Leeds this Sunday at the Sheffield Ponds Forge Basketball Arena.
The Big Tall Order.co.uk-sponsored team won the cup in 2010 in a dramatic final against Manchester Magic. However, the last two trips in the final in 2011 and 2012 were rather unsuccessful and bring bad memories to the West Country side.
Flyers head coach Andreas Kapoulas is hopeful that the fourth consecutive appearance in the National Cup final will be a special occasion for the club and the City of Bristol and will outshine the 2010 achievement:
He said: "Winning the cup in 2010 was great for the club because we were coming to the game as the underdogs and we left Sheffield as champions. This was definitely a moment that I will never forget and, for sure, it was a turning point for our club.
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"Since then we have established ourselves as one of the top sides in the country and basketball in Bristol has really grown. The 2011 and 2012 finals were a disappointment to us, especially as we were coming to the games as the favourites and we wanted to bring the cup back to Bristol."
The coach added: "This is going to be the fourth consecutive cup final appearance for the Flyers and I think there is something special about it. The team is different from previous years and we are coming to the game as definite underdogs.
"We had to deal with a number of injuries and blows this year, but the young academy players have really stepped up and some of our bench players have shown real character and have extended their roles significantly.
"The National Cup is England Basketball's most historic competition and definitely means a lot to us. We have found it difficult to find rhythm in league play and have picked up some unexpected losses.
"The return of Enrique Garcia ahead of the final is a big plus for us. Given the way the season has shaped up so far, winning the National Cup will give us a great boost for the last two-and-a-half months of league play, but will also act as a catalyst to promote our game further in the Bristol community.
"In many ways this game on Sunday could prove a much bigger achievement than 2010."
Kapoulas is aware of the strength of the Leeds Carnegie side and expects a great game.
He added: "I think this is going to be one of the best finals ever. Both teams have something to prove. Leeds have a charismatic coach in Matt Newby. All of his players have a great feel for the game and it is no coincidence that they are third in the league with eight wins and only four losses.
"They will want to win their first big title and they will be hungry for it no doubt."
The two teams were meant to meet last weekend at the WISE campus for the Vcars.co.uk Division One league, but the game had to be postponed due to the adverse weather conditions.
Greg Streete, Flyers' captain said: "It was a shame that the game was postponed last weekend, especially as were hoping to get back on track with our league campaign.
"However, I suspect both teams would have had in the back of their minds the cup final, so it might be better that the game did not take place."
The Bristo-born player added: "Sunday's game will be a great occasion and an advert for English basketball. We will do our best to bring the cup to Bristol.
" In a way we are not playing just for the club, we feel that we are representing Bristol sport."
The cup final tips off at 3.30pm and supporters that cannot travel to Sheffield will be able to follow the live stats on the England Basketball website, as well as get regular updates on the Flyers twitter account.