National Cup Finals: Dream Team take centre stage at Manchester showpiece

Basketball England has teamed up with Centre Stage Sports Presentation as its official basketball events presentation partner. 

Spearheaded by compère Tahir Hajat and Dave Waite, aka DJ W8, the duo will bring an elite flair to BE’s events calendar, starting with the National Cup Finals on the 20-21 of January at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester.  

“Fans can expect to be entertained by our internationally experienced brand of hosting that will complement the raucous excitement on centre court,” said Hajat.   

“There will be great music, good food, competition giveaways, and halftime entertainment. All teams can expect the best possible platform for elite performances and the chance to taste victory.” 


The Dream Team

Benefiting the sport through game day presentations 

Centre Stage was born out of a meeting between, Hajat and W8, who were both booked for the 2019 National Cup Finals in Essex.  

An experienced master of ceremonies, Hajat has worked with some of the worlds’ biggest sports brands and organisations such as Matchroom Sport, World Snooker, Sky Sports, ITV, NCAA, Commonwealth Games, Leicester City Football Club, Basketball England, British Basketball League, British Wheelchair Basketball and more.  

His philosophy is to bring people together and he shares this ethos with his partner, W8, a former British Basketball League player, most notably with the Birmingham Bullets.

W8 is a well-respected DJ, spinning for brands such as JD, Footasylum, Silverstone, England Rugby, Ball Out, Hoopsfix, and is a taste maker for the Leicester Riders and for Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport at numerous sporting events.

“One of the ways that we both want to develop basketball across England is through game day presentations,” added Hajat, a former Jnr. NBL coach for the Riders. 

“We want people to understand that these are events that you should be coming to whether your team is playing or not. This is a signature event in the English basketball calendar, and we want the basketball community to come together and just connect with one another and enjoy themselves. 

“I also want to ensure that the talent level in our industry is improved. Not only to elevate the game by giving budding emcees or DJs opportunities, but to keep the pressure on us so that we keep developing and creating new experiences.” 

Finalists confirmed

This year's finalists are all confirmed, with Milton Keynes Breakers bidding to become the first ever non-Division One side to lift the NBL National Cup. They'll have to beat 2013/14 winners Reading Rockets to make that a reality, though.

The WNBL Final is also set, with holders Thames Valley Cavaliers looking to defend their title against Division One leaders Endeavour Ipswich Basketball.

The Sure Shot U18 Women and U16 Girls' line ups are confirmed, with home town Manchester Mystics taking on CoLA Southwark Pride in the U18 showpiece, whilst the U16 game will see Richmond Knights going up against Milton Keynes Breakers.

In the U18 Men's competition, Derby Trailblazers will take on Islington Panthers and defending champs Manchester Magic will be looking to retain the U16 title as they battle against Bristol Academy Flyers.

National Cup Finals schedule - Sunday 21 January, 2024

  • 13:00 – Senior Women’s National Cup Final: Thames Valley Cavaliers v Endeavour Ipswich Basketball Club
  • 16:00 – Senior Men’s National Cup Final: Milton Keynes Breakers v Reading Rockets

Sure Shot Junior National Cup Finals schedule - Saturday 20 January, 2024

  • 11:00 - Under-16 Girls National Cup Final: Richmond Knights v Milton Keynes Breakers
  • 13:15 – Under-16 Boys National Cup Final: Manchester Magic v Bristol Academy Flyers
  • 15:30 – Under-18 Women’s National Cup Final: Manchester Mystics v CoLA Southwark Pride
  • 17:45 – Under-18 Men’s National Cup Final: Derby Trailblazers v Islington Panthers