Watch as Caledonia Gladiators write Scottish basketball history at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena

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The BBL Trophy Final drama unfolded in front of an electric atmosphere a Caledonia Gladiators defeated Cheshire Phoenix 70-73.

Caledonia Gladiators brought home a first British Basketball trophy to Scotland in 20 years in dramatic fashion as hero David Sloan scored a buzzerbeating three-pointer to lift the BBL Trophy with a 73-70 victory overagainst Cheshire Phoenix at the Emirates Arena.

With one minute remaining on the clock, the final still hung in the balance with Phoenix leading by two points, but Gladiators would not go down without a fight and created a moment that will be spoken about for generations.

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With the game tied going into the last five seconds, American guard Sloan produced a stunning three-pointer to win a compelling final showdown and spark wild celebrations on the court and in the stands. It was a moment fitting of winning any major sporting event and one of the great moments in British basketball.

Caledonia Gladiators secure first British basketball title in 20 years (Image: British Basketball League)Caledonia Gladiators secure first British basketball title in 20 years (Image: British Basketball League)
Caledonia Gladiators secure first British basketball title in 20 years (Image: British Basketball League)

A capacity 6,000 crowd inside the arena and those tuning in live on Sky Sports, were treated to a final that’ll be remembered as a great showcase for the British game. Both sides traded the lead on several occasions and played with immense passion, in a game you couldn’t take your eyes off.

Defeat in 10 straight finals have occured since the 2003 play-off title was secured under the previous franchise of Scottish Rocks. After securing only their second major prize, an emotional and overjoyed head coach Gareth Murray said: “It’s an amazing feeling. You couldn’t really pitch a more wide open shot for David Sloan in the corner to win the game on the buzzer in front of 6,000 people in Glasgow.

“There is no better feeling, it’s a dream come true. I’m so happy for the guys that have been here who’ve worked so hard and thank you to the fans that have come out and watched us today. It means everything to the people that follow the club and the people that have been around the club all these years. I was disappointed in myself as a player that I wasnt able to deliver a trophy over the years for Glasgow Rocks, but now to bring it here to Glasgow is hopefully just the start of something special.

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“The club is growing, not just in Glasgow but the whole of Scotland. We’ve got big ambitions and it’s the reason we are called Caledonia, we want to represent the whole of Scotland. We are the only professional basketball team in the country, and we want to be the biggest and best in the UK. It wasn’t just for Caledonia Gladiators this evening; it was for the whole of Scotland.

“The atmosphere was amazing. Cheshire brought a great group of supporters up with them as well, they were loud. But our fans deserves this trophy because they’ve been with us through the struggles and it’s amazing we can do it for everyone in Glasgow.”

Long-serving Gladiators captain and Scottish basketball legend Jonny Bunyan, who has experienced many highs and lows with the club over the past 12 years, told GlasgowWorld: “I’m absolutely over the moon. There’s no better feeling than this, it’s the best I’ve had in the 12 years of being here and we did it together.

“There was no standout performance, there were a lot of good individual performances but to come back from 5 points down with two minutes to go made it very special. It’s very difficult to keep the smile off my face just now.

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“It’s very historic for me and my family. We can say that there has been a family member of each team that have a championship which is pretty special. This moment cannot be beaten, it was magnificent. Our team is based on fight, effort and playing for each other, so it’s a great feeling.

“It’s poetic that we got to achieve this at the Emirates in our last season here in front of our own fans who have stood by us and been so loyal over the years. It’s almost written in the stars, you couldn’t draw it up any better. It’s a great thing to end our time at this venue and move on to more exciting things in the future.”

USA forward Jeremiah Bailey was named the Most Valuable Player of the final after contributing a team-high 16 points plus eight rebounds.

Aaron Radin, CEO of the British Basketball League commented: “Congratulations to both teams for really showcasing what British Basketball is all about, it was a truly incredible game, matched by the atmosphere generated inside the arena by the crowd. Caledonia have created a moment that will be spoken about for years to come and it is of course a historic moment for both basketball in Scotland and the league as a whole.”

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