Login Register

Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Coffino says he has never been more happy about a loss

Phoenix beaten 86-87 by Glasgow Rocks in quarter-final second leg but advance to BBL Play-Off semi-final after aggregate success

Ben Taylor Photography Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Coffino
Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Coffino

Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Coffino says he has never been more happy to lose a game of basketball in his life after he watched his side progress to the semi-final of the BBL Play-Offs despite a narrow 87-86 loss at home to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday night.

Defending a 13-point advantage going into the contest after winning 91-78 at the Emirates Arena on Friday night, it was a case of job done at the Northgate Arena as Cheshire held back a strong Glasgow side to ensure the dream of a final appearance at the O2 Arena in London on May 10 is still very much alive.

For Coffino, the narrow defeat was merely a bump in the road as he squad kept themselves in the hunt for end-of-season silverware.

"Credit to Glasgow as they beat us tonight (Sunday), but I have never been more happy about a loss in my life and my career," said Coffino.

"It's such a weird feeling to advance after losing. It is a strange circumstance, it almost devalues the game that you have to play not to lose by more than 13. But we were trying to win the game and they gave us everything they had. It was a tough match."

Coffino reserved praise for Taylor King, who ended the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds, after he overcame early foul trouble in Sunday's home clash with the Rocks to help his side keep pace with the visitors.

"I let him (King) talk me out of staying in with two (fouls) and then he got three," said Coffino.

"But, you know, he is the league's leading scorer and it's hard to win without his scoring. He got 26 tonight and we don't win without him. I thought he came through with some big rebounds and big free throws for us."

The win for the Nix sees them paired against London Lions in the semi-final after Vince Macauley's side destroyed reigning BBL Play-Off champions Worcester Wolves, winning 80-75 on Friday before a mammoth 106-67 triumph at home last night.

Phoenix travel to the Copper Box Arena on Friday (7.30pm) for the first leg before heading back to the Northgate Arena for what will be the club's final game at the venue on Sunday (5.30pm) after calling it home for the past 21 years.

"You know what, London is going to be a different type of match, just as tough but the stakes are higher," added the Nix coach.

"They are coming off the back of two explosive wins and we have got to get ready.

"To play London we are not excited about it as they are a talented team and they are a hot team and they are an explosive team and they have Zaire Taylor and (Lovell) Cook. They do have some weapons but we match up well with them and it's going to be a battle. The winner gets to go back to London.

"We have had some success against them and we are going to sit down and look at some tape and see what we can do to slow down Zaire and the rest of their group."

With Sunday's home clash with the Lions representing the final time the club will play at the Northgate Arena, their home for 21 years, before taking residence in their new 1,400-seater arena at the new Ellesmere Port Sports Village, to be known as the Cheshire Oaks Arena, Coffino is wanting to give the venue and the fans the perfect send-off.

"It really is the final game," said Coffino.

"I read an article in the Glasgow paper and Danny Huffor (Rocks player) said that this game (against Glasgow) was the final one. I said, 'it is, for them'.

"It will be real emotional next weekend and there is a lot riding on it so I want to finish on a high note in front of our fans. They're the best in the league."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details