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Basketball Ireland: weekend preview

Updated: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 13:52 | Comments

After last weekend's Cup thrills, it's back to the bread and butter of the league
After last weekend's Cup thrills, it's back to the bread and butter of the league

DCU Saints will be looking to extend their winning streak to seven games this weekend as attention turns back to Basketball Ireland’s Men’s Premier League following the excitement of cup finals.

Saints will have their work cut out as they face a Killester side currently positioned second in the league table and just one game back of undefeated C&S UCC Demons.

When the sides last met, Killester escaped with a three point victory only after Michael Bonaparte scored the last seven points of the game.

Missing from that tussle was Saints’ Martins Provisors, whose play in recent months (averaging 17.6 points per game) has been a huge reason for his team’s winning streak that has them fourth in the league table.

Saints made a similar run of wins in the second half of last season, which they also started slowly, eventually seeing them contest the Champions Trophy Final.

"We are not playing last season, we are playing this one and anything can happen," said Saints' guard Eoin Darling.

"We have a few tough games coming up and we are looking to take them one at a time and make it into the Champions Trophy Final again."

A win against Killester would go a long way to accomplishing that but Darling knows taking down the second placed team in the Men’s Premier League will be no easy feat.

"They have no specific weaknesses and are a strong team all around. They have been playing well this season but we have also played well in our last seven games so this should be a great match-up."

Last weekend’s National Cup finalists, C&S UCC Demons and Dublin Inter meet once more this Sunday as the former will look for a repeat winning performance, this time at home in Cork’s Mardyke Arena.

"We are obviously very pleased to be cup champions however we are not satisfied yet," said young Demons guard Adrian O’Sullivan.

"It’s tough to call what way they will react to the loss but it is important that we concentrate on us and treat it like any other regular season game."

Elsewhere in the Men’s Premier League at the weekend, it is the battle of Spanish coaches in Galway as the Salva Camps led SSE Renewables Moycullen welcome Jose Maria Berrocal and Belfast Star to the Kingfisher Arena while Templeogue and UL Eagles host Bord Gais Neptune and UCD Marian respectively.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Premier League, one of the great rivalries in Irish basketball writes its latest chapter as Dublin rivals and defeated National Cup semi-finalists, DCU Mercy and Killester lock horns.

"I think [the rivalry] does have an impact on the game," said Killester head coach Mark Grennell.

"Everyone is that bit more focused and has a little bit more energy for it. It also tends to be a very physical game."

Also in action are the two National Cup finalists with recently crowned cup champions Team Montenotte Hotel and runners up UL Huskies both playing Ulster Rockets.

There is also the clash of the table’s bottom two sides when Liffey Celtics host Meteors while Singleton SuperValu Brunell and WIT Wildcats round off the weekend’s fixtures.

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