- National Teams
Manchester Magic claimed the first piece of silverware in the NBL this season after beating defending champions Reading Rockets in the National Cup Final in Sheffield, on Sunday.
Alvaro Alcaron Lazaur top scored with 20 points whilst adding 10 boards with Ellis Cooper producing a huge double-double of 18 points and 19 rebounds to claim the MVP award in the 76-58 victory.
The Rockets were led by Alex Zurn’s 16 points as they failed to recover from a slow start as they found themselves trailing by 16 at the end of the first. Reading struggled to find their range from distance; finishing 4-of-28 from beyond the arc.
Magic Head Coach Paul Middleton was cleared to lead his side in the final having appealed a one-game suspension with Basketball England deciding to complete the process next week.
The play-caller was able to see his side make a fast start as they raced out to a 10-2 lead which set the tone for a dominant opening quarter, where they eventually led 31-15. A better defensive effort from their opponents saw Manchester restricted to just seven points in the second quarter, although they still held a commanding 38-28 advantage.
Magic re-asserted their authority in the second half as they gradually began to build on their lead despite Reading briefly cutting the gap to single figures before it became 53-39 heading into the fourth. There was to be no late charge from the Rockets as their title defence ran out of fuel with Manchester easing towards a 76-58 win to seal the title.
Image credit: Mansoor Ahmed Photography