A huge weekend for both Cork sides Energywise Ireland Neptune and Emporium Cork Basketball as they get ready for two mouth-watering National Cup games against Dublin opposition Eanna and Killester.
To be fair this season Neptune basketball club have put in some serious preparation for their league and cup programme and no doubt the Blackpool venue will be rocking for their clash with Eanna.
Neptune were shocked last weekend when losing at Ballincollig and although they managed to reduce the deficit to the minimum it would have been an injustice if their opponents had lost the game.
The one noticeable aspect was the below par performance of the Neptune Catalonian star Nil Sabata who looked a shadow of the player we have witnessed all season.
On the other side of the coin Neptune didn’t concentrate on feeding the post and looking at Sabata and Jordan Blount all season that’s where they look a formidable unit.
Maybe Sabata was under the weather but he certainly cannot afford a repeat performance in this clash.
Jordan Blount started well against Ballincollig but will rue his percentage on the free throw line that would have given his team an unexpected win.
Make no mistake Blount is a serious talent when he is on his game and his contribution tomorrow will be crucial.
For me American Jordan Evans is not doing enough for the team as he basically relies on spot shooting and for Neptune to be challenging for silverware this season more will be required from him.
Victory scholar American Keonn Scott is an average player who works hard in defence and captain Roy Downey will have to put in a big shift for his team to prevail.
Cian Heaphy hasn’t lit up the league this season but he ticks lots of boxes and this is the game he will be expected to strut his skills on the big stage.
Eanna defeated Neptune 98-83 at the Cork venue three weeks ago and will feel they can repeat that feat.
Former Neptune underage star Sean Jenkins came alive in the second half finishing with a 16 point tally and he will need to be guarded to restrict his influence.
Another Irish player Neil Lynch had 17 points that included 4 three pointers and no doubt Colin O’Reilly will be aware of his shooting skills.
Eanna are the form team coming into the game as last weekend they easily accounted for an inform Killester side 87-73 and will feel they can turnover this Neptune side.
One positive note for Neptune is that Sabata didn’t play when the teams last clashed and although it could well go down to the wire a home win is could be on the cards.
The second quarter final at the Ballincollig Community School will see Emporium Cork Basketball hosting Killester (4pm).
Ballincollig without their influential Spanish ace Jose Jimenez Gonzalez played solid basketball against Neptune and deserved their win.
Adrian O’Sullivan was truly outstanding as was Dylan Corkery who could be given the job of nullifying the Killester ace Paul Dick.
Dick was on fire last weekend when chipping in with 33 points but is a player that has to have a lot of the ball that could well play into the hands of Ballincollig.
The one positive thing about this Ballincollig side is they have some serious structure and American John Dawson is a wonderful athlete and shooter.
Spanish ace Pau Cami Galera is a hard working point guard and Keelan Cairns at last showed another side to his game against Neptune with 18 points and solid display in defence.
The Dublin side have three Spanish players in their squad but with ace point guard Ciaran Roe presently injured their over reliance on Paul Dick is very evident.
This will be a true test for Ballincollig but on their home court they are a solid unit and they should have too much for Killester but it could be a dogfight.