Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

European Appetite's Whetted for Eagles; Pre-Season Tournament against Top Continental Opposition Fuels Ambition for Next Big Step Newcastle Eagles Managing Director Paul Blake Believes His Side Can Take the "Next Step" towards European Basketball after Their Pre-Season Efforts. Andrew Fowler Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

European Appetite's Whetted for Eagles; Pre-Season Tournament against Top Continental Opposition Fuels Ambition for Next Big Step Newcastle Eagles Managing Director Paul Blake Believes His Side Can Take the "Next Step" towards European Basketball after Their Pre-Season Efforts. Andrew Fowler Reports

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE Eagles managing director Paul Blake has praised his side's pre-season efforts in readying themselves for the new BBL season, and admits he would "love to take that next step" and play in a European competition.

The Eagles re-signed the vast majority of their clean-sweep winning side from last term and even added former BBL MVP Joe Chapman back in to the line-up, and they were quickly thrown in to action in the inaugural MKM Euro Invitational three-day event held on Tyneside.

Northumbria University's Sport Central played host to the Eagles, as well as Belgium side Port of Antwerp Giants and Swedish champions Sodertalje Kings in the friendly competition and Blake believes it was the perfect platform to showcase Newcastle's basketball talent.

He said: "I have to thank our fans for coming along and supporting not only our team but also giving our visitors such a warm welcome to Newcastle over the three days. The atmosphere against Sodertalje was incredible for such a close and exciting pre-season game.

"I believe that if we build on the lessons we learned going forward we can repeat this tournament again next year and perhaps even bring in a third European team. We need to sit down as a club and assess what went well and what we need to improve on.

"There's no denying that all at the Eagles would love to take that next step and enter into a European competition. That's been our goal for some time and I think these three days have proved we're on the right track and could take that next step.

"Of course, we'd need further investment and facility availability is also an issue we would need to solve.

"We'd like to give a big thanks to MKM Building Supplies for their support for this event. Moving into Europe would open up so many opportunities both for ourselves and British basketball, which is important. …

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