The heartbreak of play-off defeats will be the driving force behind East Perth's bid for a maiden men's State Basketball League championship at the WA Basketball Centre tonight.

The Eagles take on minor premiers Geraldton in the grand final after rising from seventh to storm through this year's play-offs.

But things haven't been quite so rosy for East Perth in recent seasons. The Eagles lost the 2012 grand final to Cockburn before falling short in a semifinal series against eventual champions Lakeside last year.

Coach Adam Forde said the defeats were still raw for his players, who planned to use the pain as a positive.

"Heartbreak right now is what drives us," Forde said.

"We were pumped by Cockburn in the 2012 grand final, then absolutely executed by Lakeside in the semis last year.

"We don't have a big budget that breaks the bank and we don't have the luxury of flying out any studs from the USA, but we don't need to.

"Three years of heartbreak does amazing things in bringing a winning group together.

"We play for the singlet, not the pay cheque, and I'm very lucky that this group allows me to coach them."

East Perth have a talent- laden roster and have benefited from the return of powerful centre Tom Jervis.

The Perth Wildcats' big man won NBL rookie-of-the-year honours last summer and took some time off before returning to SBL duty.

Jervis led the Eagles to seven wins from his nine regular-season appearances - they were 7-10 without him - and has averaged 20.6 points a game during the play-offs.

Geraldton finished top of the ladder with a 19-7 regular-season record and will be looking for big contributions from import Carter Cook and former Melbourne Tiger Bennie Lewis.

·Rockingham Flames won their first women's SBL title with an exciting 80-75 win over Lakeside Lightning at the WA Basketball Centre last night.

A record crowd of 1122 was on hand as Samantha Whitcomb (32 points) and Darcee Garbin (25) fired the Flames to victory.

The West Australian

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