Basketball: Olu’s rallying call for Sharks to turn season around

Sharks forward Olu Babalola. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks forward Olu Babalola. Pic: Dean Woolley.

Three defeats in a row isn’t the ideal preparation for a BBL Cup semi-final but Sharks forward Olu Babalola thinks Friday’s first leg against Newcastle Eagles at the EIS (7.30pm) could be just what his team needs.

Sharks have endured a stuttering start to the campaign and slipped to a third straight loss on Friday as they were beaten by Chavis Holmes’s last second basket for Worcester Wolves.

But with attention now on the cup and the opportunity to set up the second leg in the north-east on December 12, Babalola thinks it is a good opportunity for the Sharks to turn their season around.

He said: “Newcastle game is by far the biggest game we’ll have had up to this point.

“It’s not only a huge test, but a great opportunity to turn things around for us.

“We all play for silverware. Winning the league, while it isn’t impossible, does seem like a long shot from here.

“But being able to win some silverware will make the season successful regardless.”

Sharks were beaten at this stage of last season’s competition by the same opposition, as they were denied silverware on three fronts, while Eagles have lost out in each of the past two Cup finals.

Eagles and Sharks have already met once this term too, with the reigning champions prevailing 95-75 earlier this month.

But Babalola is of the opinion that his team must embrace the challenge in front of them, if they are to change the tone of this campaign.

Babalola added: “We have to play hard and smart for 80 minutes.

“We have to believe and take on the challenge as one that has come just at the right time.

“If we can get through this semi-final victorious, that will be all the confidence the team will need to see us through to the end of the season.”