BBL Play-off final: Leicester Riders under no extra pressure - Paternostro

Rob Paternostro
Rob Paternostro has coached at Leicester since 2008 and has been BBL Coach of the Year five times
BBL & WBBL Play-offs finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Sun 19 May
Men's Final: Leicester v London Royals: Live 15:50-18:00 on BBC Sport website, app and connected TV, replay 20:00-22:10 on BBC Red ButtonWomen's Final: Live: Sevenoaks v Leicester 13:20-15:30 on BBC Red Button

Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro has said there is no extra pressure to win Sunday's BBL Play-offs final.

Leicester, the winners for the past two seasons, are yet to win a trophy in 2019, finishing second in the league.

They face the London City Royals, who crowned their debut BBL season by winning the Trophy in Glasgow in March.

"Any time you come into these games it's the same thing," said Paternostro. "Prepare as much as you can and then it's 'who can get the job done?'"

The Riders have played in five of the last seven Play-off finals, winning three times. "A major reason for our success in these games is that defensively, we've played very well," said Paternostro, who is not surprised the Royals have reached a second final this season.

"They have a lot of talent, they have a lot of experience - they have a group of guys that are familiar with each other," he said.

The Royals beat cross-city rivals and league and cup double winners London Lions to win the trophy in the BBL's first-ever overtime final and finished fourth in the league in their first season in the BBL. Despite the obvious rivalry, their coach Jay Williams said his side have the support of the Lions.

"It's two London teams and it's always going to be competitive," said Williams. "But at the same time we've had messages from guys over there [at Lions] that have said 'Go and get it for London - let's make it a London 2-2'.

The Riders and Royals appear well-matched - the first of their three league meetings went into overtime and the matches were all decided by 10 points or less.

Jay Williams
Jay Williams (centre) took the Royals to victory in overtime in the Trophy Final

"It would be a surprise if it didn't come down to the last few minutes," said Paternostro. "When you prepare for those games you do so for the full 40 minutes.

"In these final games there's a lot of emotion in them. so you have to keep going for the full 40 minutes, it's not just about two minutes here or there."

"Even if [Leicester] had won something, Rob's a competitor so he's going to come out hard anyway," responded Williams. "They are a very deep team. I think both them and us, we're both finding our strides at the right time."

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