Our BBL Cup win means everything for this club - Leicester Riders hero Drew Sullivan
Leicester Riders hero Drew Sullivan has dedicated his side's BBL Cup victory to coach Rob Paternostro.
The Great Britain captain was an integral part of Riders' 85-80 victory over defending champions Newcastle Eagles on Sunday that saw them lift their first piece of silverware in 12 years.
"It means everything for the club," said Sullivan. "Rob has been toiling year, after year, after year, to put together a team that can do this.
"We came so close last year (in the play-off final when Riders lost 71-62 to Eagles) and I know how much it hurt him. I spoke to him all through the summer and he just couldn't put it behind him.
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"To get back here at the first time of asking, we were just desperate to win it for him and for the club.
"When you play against Newcastle, you are never out of the woods. We were expecting them to come at some point and for 35 minutes we got what we wanted and they didn't put up too much of a resistance.
"But then, in the last five minutes, they hit some great shots and started playing different. Fair dos to them but we were the better team."
Sullivan was the one who got Riders off to a good start, sinking two three-pointers in the first five minutes, and he also saved the day in the dying seconds when he pulled off a crucial block to deny Eagles from drawing level.
But the 6ft 5in forward played down his last-minute heroics.
"To be honest, we all know how many players go on in a basketball game," he said. "To say that was the play that won us the game would be really disrespectful for all the hard work that everyone put in over the 40 minutes."
Sullivan, who led the Team GB side during London 2012, said he hopes his Olympic experience was a factor.
"In practice I am a bit of a jerk," he said. "I get on to guys constantly about playing hard, never letting up, and making it hard for the opposition.
"When you get to play in competitions like that you do build up a certain level of toughness and experience. Hopefully, I am able to pass that on to some of the guys and I hope that it had something to do with us being resilient in that last quarter."
Sullivan said this hopefully will be the springboard for Riders.
"Last time I won a trophy with a club for the first time (with Eagles), they went on to be the most successful club in the country," he said. "It's not about winning one trophy, it's about winning them year in, year out."