NBL National Cup Final: MK Breakers vs Reading Rockets - The view from around the league

NBL Division 2 South side Milton Keynes Breakers face-off against perennial Division 1 powerhouse Reading Rockets in Sunday's Men's National Cup Final.

A place in British basketball folklore is at stake for the Breakers who could become the first non-NBL1 side since London Latvian SK in 1973 to hoist the Cup aloft in Manchester.

But standing in their way is a determined Reading Rockets side, who have reached their first final since January 2020, when they lost to Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup Final at the University of Essex Sports Arena.

There's lots on the line in a highly-anticipated showdown at the National Basketball Performance Centre.

"It's going to be a great match-up with an experienced Reading side facing Milton Keynes who I think is the most stacked Division 2 team I've ever seen," said Nottingham Hoods' Josh Guddemi.

"What's impressive about the Breakers' run to the Final is that they have beaten top Division 1 teams like Loughborough, Worthing and Derby. But this is a big game situation and Reading has the experience."

A view from Division Two

Milton Keynes run to the big dance on Sunday has caught the attention of teams across Division 2.

Brighton Bears centre Luke Attfield, who has experience playing in finals when he was part of the Worthing Thunder, believes Milton Keynes are building something special.

"Competing in the National Cup Final for them is just the beginning," Attfield says.

"Watching a team grow and build such a community feel by bringing back homegrown talent is what basketball in this country is all about.

"We have been on the receiving end of the Breakers this season but they are a fantastic team and will be a tough match-up for Reading.

"I know Reading well from my time at Worthing and they too are a very well run organisation and this season, they have been fun to watch."

Derbyshire Arrows' guard Max Watts is another that has seen plenty of both teams as a D2 player as well as an NBL fan, and he sees a close Final with an eventual celebration from the under dog Breakers.

"From Reading's side, they've got an experienced guard in captain Lewis Champion, a very physical presence inside with their bigs, and a good mix with some younger players from their EABL set-up," said Watts.

"Their current record shows they're a highly-competitive outfit in D1M, and with a mass of fans to support their case they'll fancy their chances.

"Competing in NBL 2 myself, I’m very familiar with Milton Keynes. The Breakers faced a huge loss earlier in the season with [Andre] Arissol picking up a season-ending injury, however they quickly made up for it by signing ex-Manchester Giants guard Nathan Robinson.

"Jordan Spencer has been massive, as usual, and ripping up D2. Dante Langley proved his worth last season coming from Durham University in BUCS, and [Chris} Taiwah has been a huge veteran to pick up as well.

"One thing's for sure, the fans Milton Keynes bring, I think it’ll match that of Reading and the atmosphere in Manchester should be second-to-none this weekend."

Who will win?

Josh Guddemi (Nottingham Hoods wing) – Reading Rockets

Luke Attfield (Brighton Bears centre) – MK Breakers

Max Watts (Derbyshire Arrows guard) – MK Breakers

You can be part of the action at the National Basketball Performance Centre with the Junior and Senior National Cup finals taking place in one action-packed weekend of basketball.

Purchase your tickets using the button below.


Words by John Hobbs