Cork Basketball: Super League is now everything for Neptune after cup exit 

John Coughlan previews Neptune's clash with Sligo All-Stars and UCC Demons' trip to Templeogue
Cork Basketball: Super League is now everything for Neptune after cup exit 

Colin O'Reilly, with last-minute instructions for the Energywise Ireland Neptune squad before the game against DBS Eanna. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

AFTER the excitement of the Pat Duffy National Cup, Super League action returns this weekend with Energywise Ireland Neptune hosting Sligo All-Stars at the Neptune Stadium (6.30pm).

There was a natural air of disappointment at the Blackpool venue when Neptune were eliminated from the National Cup, denying their fans a mouth-watering derby semi-final against Emporium Cork Basketball. There has been much documented about the Eanna defeat, but Neptune will have to close the chapter and get ready for a talented Sligo All-Stars team.

American Jordan Evans will have to improve big time; relying on basically spot shooting the ball is not good enough. Playing stringent defence and rebounding are basic requirements of any professional and Evans needs to get in the zone and up his performance.

Another player who has underachieved is Spanish ace Xabier Arriaga; he is not putting up the numbers expected of him and he needs to contribute more at both ends of the floor.

Jordan Blount is having a good season, but some of his shot selections in the cup defeat were questionable and he needs to be smarter in his decision-making despite being the team’s best player all season.

Roy Downey will look back on the Eanna defeat with some regrets in the turnover department and Cian Heaphy’s form has dipped.

Nil Sabata was having a tremendous season until he picked up an injury a few weeks ago and suddenly he does not look the same player. Catalonian-born Sabata is unorthodox but a rare talent and hopefully he can find his best form, starting with this game against Sligo All-Stars.

 Nil Sabata, Energywise Ireland Neptune, rises over Kristijan Andabaka, DBS Eanna. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Nil Sabata, Energywise Ireland Neptune, rises over Kristijan Andabaka, DBS Eanna. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The westerners rely on Gregory Poleon’s shooting skills, but their 87-80 defeat at UCD Marian shows they are not the finished article.

Indeed, Sligo depend on their outside game and Neptune will have to be ready to defend; if they do its highly likely they will respond with a comfortable win.

NEW AMERICAN

UCC Demons will have a new American in their line-up when they travel to the Nord Anglia International School to face Griffith College Templeogue.

Demons fans were miffed a fortnight ago when they lost to basement side Moycullen.

The first American signing Jeremiah Moore returned from injury and only lasted six minutes and Demons coach and hierarchy knew they couldn’t continue to play with an American. MJ Randolph a 6' 4" guard played in Florida and should bring them some more scoring power which they so badly need.

Demons began the season on a good run, but recent defeats to Sligo and Moycullen put a dampener on their earlier form in the campaign. Kyle Hosford, who missed the Moycullen defeat, is expected to return against a side that is having a terrible season.

The loss of the injured Lorcan Murphy hampered them and with Jason Killeen returning to Limerick, they have struggled to compete with the elite sides.

This is a game that Demons could win if they play to their strengths and once again Kingsley Nwagbosa will be expected to improve his performance at both ends of the court.

David Lehane was once rated one of the best outside shooters in underage basketball, but for some strange reason he has gone back in that department, instead concentrating on taking the ball to the hoop.

David Lehane rises to score. Picture: Larry Cummins
David Lehane rises to score. Picture: Larry Cummins

Former Cork senior football panellist Blake Murphy is back with the squad and coach Danny O’Mahony will be hoping he stays with the programme. Tala Thiam Fam has registered double figures all season and a big game will expected from the Spanish star.

Under coach Mark Keenan, Templeogue can be difficult to break down, but if Demons’ new American performs to his ability they could sneak a win.

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