Two years ago, Drew Sullivan helped engineer one of the great comebacks in BBL Cup history.

All over the court, he dragged the Leicester Riders back from the brink of defeat to deliver them their second straight triumph in the competition.

His 11 points in a row for the Riders launched a comeback that would ultimately lead to a 72-69 victory, as the Eagles were outscored 16-2 in the final four minutes.

As well as getting his hands on the BBL Cup, Sullivan picked up the MVP award and, as he prepares for Sunday’s rematch with Newcastle in the 2016 finale, to this day Great Britain’s most-capped male feels that was one prize he didn’t deserve.

“Newcastle were the better team on the day, but we’re the team that won and that’s one of the beauties of our sport,” said Sullivan.

“I got MVP that day, but I wasn’t the best player in that game, just the best on the team that won.

“Charles Smith was way better than me that day and it was a typical Charles performance, he was the best player on the day.”

He added, “I think we need to recognise the people who carry their teams in a game, regardless whether they win or lose.

“If it was down to me I’d have given the award to him as he was the best player.”

On Sunday, the Eagles and Riders will once again clash at the NIA, as the two top teams of British basketball go head to head for the first silverware of the season.

Remarkably, these two teams are yet to face each other this campaign with the only previously scheduled meeting re-arranged to fit in cup commitments.

“The fact we haven’t played each other is what makes it so intriguing, nobody knows what to expect,” said Sullivan.

“It’s the first showpiece of the season, I’m looking forward to it and I think it’ll be a good game for people to watch.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I like to compete and I want to be in great competitive situations as much as possible.

“I think it’s going to be a good spectacle.”

It has the makings of an intriguing final with both teams having a lot to play for. Victory for the Eagles will no doubt ramp up talk of another clean sweep this season, but Sullivan knows victory for the Riders could set them on the path to a big season of their own.

“When you win that first bit of silverware it does put a certain amount of confidence into what you are trying to do,” said the veteran forward.

“If you go back and look at the history of the league, it’s the team that normally wins this competition who goes on to have a really good season.

“Obviously, there will be years that buck the trend but more often than not, the side that wins the first silverware will have a good season.

“While both teams will want to want to win on Sunday, neither team will suddenly crumble if they don’t.”

Sullivan added, “I’m really looking forward to [the final] and I just wish that every single game carried as much intensity, it would be better for the league and for the fans.”

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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