Basketball: Leicester Riders' Rob Paternostro wins BBL coach award
BBL Cup winner Rob Paternostro has scooped the Molten BBL Coach of the month Award for January after guiding Leicester Riders to their first piece of silverware in over a decade.
The image of an ecstatic and relieved Paternostro running on to the court with his son at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham after the final buzzer had sounded was one of the most memorable and engaging British basketball images of recent times.
This epitomised what the 85-80 success meant to Paternostro and the club, especially after his coaching skills were put to the ultimate test as the defending champions Newcastle Eagles came storming back to take the lead in a nervy finale.
But, Paternostro came up trumps and will no doubt renew the rivalry with real relish as he tries to land more silverware, a distinct possibility with three still up for grabs.
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The play-caller can also reflect on a satisfying month of league action too, when he kept his team locked in a neck-and-neck race for the BBL Championship title with Eagles.
The Jelson Homes DMU-sponosred Riders went unbeaten during January, racking up three impressive but hard-fought league victories either side of the final.
The first was an 89-82 home win against Worcester Wolves and they followed this up with a 73-68 victory in the capital against London Lions.
With the BBL Cup safely secured, Paternostro ensured his players retained their focus as they routed fellow title challengers Surrey Heat 88-58 in their only other game to be played during the period.
In addition, he also received the coach of the year accolade at the Leicester Mercury Sports awards.
Paternostro said, "I am not a great believer in these kinds of awards.
"There should be really be team of the month award. It has been a great month for the team and the club.
"Winning that first piece of silverware in a long time, and seeing the reaction of friends and supporters, will live long in the memory. The team has been playing exceptionally well, and they deserve this award. But there is a long way to go in the season, so we will be focusing on that."
Paternostro also landed the October award after his team had enjoyed a lengthy unbeaten start to the new campaign.