Coach Vear and Barking Abbey gear up for post season dash

Graham Hodges

Barking Abbey coach James Vear is confident going into the Elite Eight stage of the EABL play-offs this week, saying “not many teams can beat us at our best.”

Barking have enjoyed a brilliant regular season in the EABL this year, finishing with an unbeaten 15-0 record in 2019/20.

Vear’s side also impressed at the recent Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Lithuania, finishing fifth after beating some of Europe’s top teams.

The amount of games his players have played is something the former GB coach has taken into account when preparing for this week’s opponents Manchester Magic Academy: “Preparation has been good, it’s been a busy period for us anyway with a lot of games including the Euro League so it’s been more about keeping the players ticking over and not loading too much on them.

“We obviously want to do well in the NBL but the EABL still means a lot to us so it will be a big day getting it started against Manchester.

“It’s a one-off game so anyone on their day can win, but we are confident and when we are at their best there are not many teams that can beat us.

“But Manchester are a good side so potentially it can be a very good game on Wednesday.”

Last season’s EABL runners up Barking will want to go one better this year after being the victims of an extraordinary comeback from eventual winners Charnwood College, as Will Maynard’s side stormed back from 63-44 down in the fourth quarter.

On last year’s final, Vear added: “I’ve just spent a week in Lithuania with him (Maynard) and he still teases me about it! But obviously we want to go one better this year and who knows maybe meet Charnwood in the semi-final.

“As coaches we haven’t spoken about it to be honest. Obviously, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to but I think everyone involved knows how it went down and it doesn’t really need to be spoken about.

“The players might do but it can only serve as motivation for this year’s play-offs.”

The opening round of the EABL playoffs begin tomorrow afternoon as Barking take on #4 seed Manchester, #1 seed Myerscough match up with #4 seed Canterbury, #2 seed JMA host #3 seed James Watt College and #2 seed Charnwood take on #3 seed Copleston.

The EABL playoff final will take place alongside the WEABL and ABL finals at University of Essex Sport Arena on Wednesday 18 March.

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