BBL Trophy LogoWorcester Wolves claimed their first piece of silverware in the BBL on Sunday – thanks in large to Jamal Williams’ MVP performance.

The Canadian-born forward poured in 26 points on 10-15 FG shooting to help the Wolves defeat Glasgow Rocks 83-76 in the Trophy Final.

“I was very proud, but also a little modest in the whole acceptance (of the award),” said Williams. “I have to give a lot of credit to my team-mates.”

“It was just one of those things and it was my day. It was my best performance of my professional career and it was good timing to do it in a final.”

Paul James’ side had a tough run to the final having seen off the London Lions, Newcastle Eagles and the holders Sheffield Sharks on route to the show-piece event at the Emirates Arena.

Wolves decided to make the step up to the BBL in 2006 having ended that season as the National Trophy winners in the EBL. The progression as a club and organisation has been evident and Williams was glad to be able to give something back.

“It was great to win the Trophy and we knew that we made the city of Worcester very happy. It was nice to get PJ his first one in Worcester then Mick Donovan and Roger (Clarke) the owner who have been there since the beginning. It was almost like a gift for all their hard work over the years.”

A lot of talk ahead of the Final, as it has been for much of the season, was regarding Worcester’s ‘Big 3′: Zaire Taylor, Alex Owumi and Will Creekmore. Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis spoke of his intention to restrain their production to be within a chance of winning prior to the game, but Wolves’ depth shone through with the Williams brothers combining for 35 points off the bench.

Jamal said: “Our big three attract a lot of attention each game so guys like myself, my brother (Kai Williams), Kalil Irving, Daniel Belgrave and Stefan Djukic have to make sure we’re ready to shoot and step up when we’re open.

And Williams was delighted to be able to share the success with his younger brother, Kai.

“It’s a dream come true. We grew up together playing on the same team so to win together at a higher level is just amazing. This was Kai’s first final in the BBL so to get to have that experience with him was very special.”

As for the 27-year-old, it was his fourth piece of silverware in the BBL. Williams was part of the Mersey Tigers team that won the treble in the 2010-11 season, having also lost in the BBL Cup Final that same season.

And he admitted that it’s nice to have a more productive role with Worcester than he did as a member of the Tigers.

“All of the wins with Mersey were nice and obviously very special during that season. However, this one is probably more special as I was the MVP, it was Worcester’s first trophy and I feel like I’m a bigger piece on this team than I was back then.”

Two days prior to the final, Worcester’s league title hopes suffered a blow with an 82-73 defeat at home to the Sheffield Sharks. The Championship is no longer in their hands with Newcastle and Sheffield in control of their own fate in the final few games of the season.

“We were definitely upset about our performance (against Sheffield),” said Williams. “We knew we had to bounce back so that gave us a little extra boost of motivation. But at the end of the day, if you can’t be up for a final then there’s something wrong.”

In the final, Glasgow had the better start of the two teams and opened up a 44-38 half-time advantage having led by as many as ten points at the start of the second. Williams believes his side’s slow start could have been down to nerves.

“I don’t really know, perhaps it was just first-half jitters with a bigger crowd in a big arena. Glasgow played a hell of a game, they shot the ball really well and their quick start kind of surprised us in a sense.”

He concluded: “It was a combination of Glasgow playing well and the big stage having an effect on our slow start. Fortunately, it only lasted the one half for us.”

Worcester began to make their presence felt in the second half and the Rocks soon began to get into foul trouble. Danger man Daniel Northern picked up his third foul early on and Williams believes a change of approach really benefited the Wolves.

“They got into foul trouble and that was a real credit to our offence. In the first half, we were settling for a lot of 3-pointers and I remember the coach telling us we were 2-14 in the first half.

“In the second half, we made sure we got a lot of stuff going towards the basket and that put them in some tough defensive situations. That definitely helped us and that was something we addressed at half-time.”

Worcester aim to keep their title hopes alive as they host Durham on Friday whilst having one eye on the hugely important game featuring Newcastle and Sheffield at Sport Central.

“Now that we’ve had that taste of victory, we are definitely hungry, but I wouldn’t say any more so than before. We knew from the start of the season we had a good team and then getting my brother and Andreas Schreiber made us stronger. The craving is still there and we know that two more trophies could be ours.”

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