Sharks can chase down the second seed, says Jordan Ratinho

By Jamie Thomas

With the Leicester Riders within touching distance of
securing yet another BBL Championship crown, the race is very much on behind
them for the best possible playoff seeding, with the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
currently sitting in a good position to hunt down the second spot.

The Manchester Giants currently sit in second place, but
with two games in hand and being only one win behind, it is well within the
Sharks’ control to be the best of the rest behind the Riders, and we caught up
with Jordan Ratinho to find out more about his hopes for the rest of the

“We’re chasing the position that everybody wants to be in
right now, with Leicester realistically out of reach at this stage, and we know
everybody is going to be extra hungry for wins to climb that table ahead of the
post-season, but we know what we’ve done to get here and just need to stick to

“We’ve got to come out in every game like it is the last
game of the season, we can’t have any possessions off, but we’re in this spot
now for a reason and we really feel confident that we can get the wins we need
to secure the second place going into the playoffs.

“I think we’ve done a great job to turn our form around
since Christmas, but we’ve got to keep that going. I learnt a lot from last
year’s playoffs and I’m excited to get back there again – hopefully as the
second seed – but if we can learn anything from last year it is that every
possession counts, right until the last second, and we’ve got to stay focussed
on our goals.”

“We’ve got to find balance with what we do

The Sharks’ exploits this season in the Championship that
have gotten them to this favourable position going into the closing stages of
the regular season have somewhat gone under the radar.

With the teams around them such as the Riders, Giants, the
Cheshire Phoenix and London Lions all having reached major finals this year,
Sheffield have quietly gone about their business and put themselves in a great
position to finish behind Leicester. Ratinho discusses his thoughts on how the
season has panned out for his side so far.

“It has definitely been an up-and-down season for a lot of
teams. When we’re looking really connected and playing together on the
offensive end we’re a very good team, but we’ve had to work on that consistency
there, whereas we’ve regularly done well on the defensive end.

“Quite often we’re holding teams to under their scoring
averages in every game, but we’ve got to find that balance with what we do
offensively. We’ve made some changes to our team throughout the year but
hopefully now we can get rolling down the stretch and take good form into the

“I’ve worked hard to become more comfortable in my role
within the system. Last year I came into a team that was already formed and
knew each other, so I was just trying to feel out where I could play my game,
but now I’m more comfortable and doing what I can to help the team win.”

“We’ve had our adversity earlier this season, but
that’s the time you want it to happen.”

The Sharks have also been somewhat fortunate that the
inevitable blip in form – that everybody except the Riders seems to have had
this year – came early in the season, and whilst that has obviously dented any
hopes of a title charge, the team feel their best form is now ahead of them and
they can make a push for the post-season in full knowledge of where they need
to improve.

“We’ve had our adversity earlier this season, but that’s the
time you want it to happen. We’ve learned a lot about our team from those
games, made changes, and although this is the best version of our team right
now we’re still improving, learning each other and finding new ways to be

“We do have to get better at rebounding, but we know that,
and our key focus is finding that rhythm offensively and I think that is our
biggest room for growth. We’re starting to click a little bit more, though, and
we’re going to keep working on that with the remaining games.

“The highlight for me for sure has been being able to play
in full arenas in front of fans and being able to experience that – in a way
this feels like my first professional season, because last year was so
different, but I’m really enjoying it and excited for all the challenges.”

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