- National Teams
Watch the 2024 Men’s National Cup final live between Milton Keynes Breakers and Reading Rockets live from 4pm at the National Basketball Performance Centre.
Milton Keynes Breakers will be aiming to become the first team from outside NBL Division One to win the NBL National Cup since 1973 as they take on Reading Rockets.
In 1972/73, the inaugural season of the modern NBL, London Latvian SK defeated then D1 side Sutton 70-69 at Crystal Palace to claim the National Cup.
LLSK would join D1 the following season, and no side from outside the top flight has reached an NBL National Cup Final since.
That puts the Breakers in elite company, and their run to this year’s final has already involved wins over D1 outfits Loughborough, Worthing and Derby. Reaching Manchester’s showpiece is also one step further than MK managed in 2022/23 as a D3 team, with their trajectory continuing to trend upwards.
Three-time Cup winners Reading Rockets will have no time for letting MK’s story reach its fairytale conclusion though, with the 2019/20 finalists looking to become the competition’s joint-forth most successful team with a fourth win here.
The road to Manchester has been a tough one for coach Nuruzade’s team, with three of their four opponents residing in D1. That includes their semi-final foes Essex Rebels, with the current league leaders being dispatched 93-88.
There should be a number of excellent match ups on display across the court as both finalists boast rosters that are as deep as they are talented.
Reading’s Zach Powell (13.6PPG, 6.5RPG, 3.7APG) is a familiar face in this season’s Rebound D1M Team of the Week conversation, while versatile guard Mitch Clarke (18.6PPG, 4.9APG) is another with match-winning credentials.
Captain Lewis Champion is a former Cup winner with Team Northumbria in 2016/17 and has plenty of big game experience and centre Christian Alexander has also been hitting form in recent weeks.
MK’s Nathan Robinson is one to watch for the Breakers. The newly signed guard had 18 points in the semi-final win over Derby and he’ll be playing in his hometown after spending last season with BBL outfit Manchester Giants.
Sharpshooter Blayne Freckleton has lit up the NBPC before, nailing ten three-pointers on his way to a 39-point outing and MVP honours at last season’s D3 playoff final.
Guard combo Dante Langley and Jordan Spencer are both a threat for high-volume scoring performances, and centre Chris Tawiah is yet another player on this MK roster with significant overseas and/or BBL experience.
“Needless to say, we are really excited to be in the Cup Final,” Milton Keynes head coach Billy Beddow commented.
“To go a step further than we did last year is great, but the goal is to win the Cup, not just make the final. We know Reading are a great team and will be very well prepared. These are the level of games that we want to be playing week in and week out. We’re motivated to bring some silverware back to Milton Keynes for the city and our amazing fans.”
Reading head coach Samit Nuruzade added:
“It was a good win against Essex considering the circumstance, missing Lewis our captain. But never the less, everyone came through. We started slowly, but we got ourselves into the game and carried on from there. Full credit to Essex, they’re a great team, well coached, fought really really hard and made it incredibly difficult for us, even into the last seconds. But I’m delighted for the Rockets’ family and delighted that we’re into the final.”