Basketball: Leicester Riders' new stars can't wait for Newcastle challenge
Two of Leicester Riders' new overseas stars may have only been in the country for a few months but they already have their sights set on silverware.
Slovakian forward Pavol Losonsky and Spanish guard Jorge Calvo joined Riders' ranks in the summer and, after just four months of competitive action, find themselves in the BBL Cup final.
And the duo will have a crucial role to play as Riders go in search of their first trophy in 12 years against Newcastle Eagles, who have dominated British basketball during recent years and hold all four domestic titles.
Calvo was just a teenager when his Leon team won promotion to the top flight of Spanish basketball, when they beat Zaragosa in a two-leg play-off six years ago.
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Zaragosa had 10,000 at their home leg, Leon welcomed 7,000 at theirs but, with 7,500 expected to be in attendance at the NIA, Birmingham, Calvo believes tomorrow's final is on another level to his play-off experience.
"Everyone is talking up this BBL Cup final as a very big deal, and we are all fired up," said the 25-year-old. "Everyone is bubbling about it, and I can't wait.
"I am really excited to be in the Cup final in England, in just my first year.
"I know the Riders were in the play-offs back in May, but this is a huge step for me.
"I really feel part of the team, and I know everyone is really looking forward to it."
"I feel strongly that we can win. All the guys are preparing the right way, the coach and assistant coaches have got the little details right, and we all feel ready and positive."
Slovakian Losonsky said it was Riders' final experience last season that inspired him to join their ranks.
"Before I joined up with the Riders, I watched the BBL Play-off final last May on YouTube," said the 6ft 8in forward. "That was enough to convince me I wanted to come to Leicester, and take part in that kind of event.
"Now it is here, I am both excited and a bit anxious. We just want to get out on court.
"In Slovakia, the play-offs are the games that matter, with big crowds, everyone playing at a higher level, guys diving on the floor, and no-one giving an inch. There is a real intensity. It feels like it is going to be that way in Birmingham against Newcastle."
Losonsky said he won't be overawed by the occasion. "When I was at the University of California, we played Texas in front of 13,000 and faced UCLA before 10,000, both with live TV.
"You forget about the surroundings and hype, and just play. I think our team knows what needs to be done."