Mersey Tigers stars Perry Lawson, Nate Reinking and Tafari Toney will come up against their former club, Sheffield Sharks, in the BBL Cup Final this Sunday (3.30 tip).
It’s the first time the trio will play against the Sharks since signing for Mersey and while they’re all hoping to get one over their rivals by winning the trophy, Reinking and Lawson have nothing but praise for their old club.
“I’ve got a really good rapport with the fans of Sheffield, the city of Sheffield and the organisation as a whole. Going into the game – I just see it as a game. There is obviously a little bit of animosity.”
Both Tafari Toney and Lawson played in the BBL Cup Final for the Sharks last season, with the latter scoring four free-throws in the final-quarter, an effort that would see the Sheffield side take the lead and, ultimately, lift the trophy.
Lawson added: “I’m going to be very fired up because we haven’t played them yet this season and that’s one of the fixtures that I’ve marked an ‘X’ on.”
Reinking, 37, also had reserved praise for the Sharks and admitted it may be strange for him going up against Sheffield after playing for the side for six years between 1999 and 2006.
“In a final you always want to win and just come home with the trophy. It’s a little different because I spent so much time in Sheffield, I know the management real well so it’s going to be a strange feeling playing against them for sure.”
The point guard has played in plenty of big games throughout his 15 year pro-career and wants to win everything this season with the Tigers.
“It’s a cup final, so whoever you’re going against is your rival. If I’m going to play in the BBL I want to win everything. I don’t care about stats or anything it’s just about winning and this final is our first opportunity to win something this season.”
Reinking is struggling with a calf injury but is hoping to be fit and ready for coach Tony Garbeletto come Sunday afternoon, who echoed his star man’s determination to win everything this season.
“We’ve got another set of semi-finals coming up and we’re top of the league. Hopefully we can win the cup competitions, finish the league as champions and go on to win the play-off championships.”