The Leicester Riders will face the Newcastle Eagles in this year’s British Basketball League playoff final after both teams coasted through their respective semi-final clashes.
The newly crowned BBL champions, Leicester Riders were comfortable in defeating the Plymouth Raiders 76-60 in the midlands to book their spot in the showpiece final at Wembley Arena next Sunday afternoon.
Pavol Losonsky scored a game-high 21 points for the Riders as an 18-2 run to start the third quarter saw them ease through and give the Raiders no hope. Riders won on aggregate 156-126.
The Newcastle Eagles made light work of the Surrey Heat in their first leg tie, winning 110-82, a lead of 28 points heading into the second leg in Guildford.
The Heat, led by 35 points from Frank Holmes never gave up the fight and in the end, won the second leg 96-92 but it wasn’t enough to deny the Eagles a chance to defend their Playoff crown that they won last year … against the Riders, winning 202-178 on aggregate.
Players take to Twitter, asking for a change to the format.
Players and coaches from the BBL and Great Britain Basketball have taken to social media and have requested that the playoff format be changed from two legged ties to a three-game series.
Fans in recent years have taken to message boards and social media and called for the league to change the structure to a three-game series, something that most European leagues use and after today’s semi-final games, the players have voiced their opinions on Twitter.
Leicester Riders’ Andrew Sullivan replied to a tweet from basketball journalist Mark Woods who said that the playoffs needed to be a “best of 3 series”.
Sullivan replied: “Totally agree with u Mark. It’s [about] time we move away from this silly aggregate nonsense.”
Newly appointed Great Britain under-20 assistant coach James Vear tweeted: “Still can’t believe they have aggregate scoring in BBL playoffs, they have to change it to a best of 3 series surely.”
And following his team’s two-legged defeat to the Newcastle Eagles, Surrey Heat guard Caylin Raftopoulos also took to Twitter to voice his disapproval at the format.
“Sucks to have to end the season like this.. The BBL should really consider having a 3 game series.. Glad we got the win today though,” he said.
The BBL is currently the only domestic league in Europe using the two-leg games where the ultra-rare occurrence of a score draw is in-fact possible.