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WATCH: David Aliu on Cheshire Phoenix loss to Manchester Giants

Phoenix lose north west derby after 93-85 loss at Giants in the BBL Championship

A poor second-half performance ensured the bragging rights went to Manchester Giants as the Cheshire Phoenix were handed a disappointing defeat in the BBL Championship on Sunday.

The Giants won the north west derby after catching the Nix cold in the second half at the Lucozade Powerdome in Trafford, where a dismal shooting effort from the field and the defensive frailties that have dogged them in recent weeks combined to see the visitors fall to a 93-85 reverse.

The Nix, backed by a superb away following, were missing influential forward David Aliu through injury while Paul Sturgess was serving a suspension following an on-court fracas during the 99-76 win at Durham Wildcats on Friday night.

This season the Nix have built up a reputation as a side that finds their groove in the third and fourth quarters, possessing the offensive ability to torch the opposition at key points in the game, but they began the stronger at the Giants on Sunday and looked to be in full control when they reached the interval 51-43 to the good.

Ex-Manchester Giant Martyn Gayle was given his first start in a Nix jersey and he shot well from the field while Adrien Sturt made the most of his opportunity for more minutes on the floor with a solid display during the opening two quarters.

Demond Watt, who finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds, led from the front for the Nix but the visitors over-reliance on the Chicagoan forward was to prove their Achilles Heel in the second half as they struggled miserably from the field and especially from beyond the arc.

Phoenix head coach John Coffino would have hoped for a better response from his players to open the third quarter but they failed to come out of the traps and Manchester, led by the impressive Stefan Gill's 23 points, found the lane with ease and alarming regularity as they opened with a 18-7 thanks to some big plays from Gill, Ingus Bankevics and David Watts, eventually stretching their lead to double digits.

With Taylor King struggling to find his rhythm and Mike DiNunno shooting only 18% from the field, the Nix were unable to claw back at their rivals and the relied on Watt to keep them ticking over.

In the end the late rally never arrived and the Nix fell to a disappointing defeat. They remain in fourth in the BBL Championship but the loss is a blow to their chances of climbing the rankings and getting a more favourable seeding in the end-of-season play-offs.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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