by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will look for their fifth consecutive win in the BBL Cup when they’ll go head-to-head against the Manchester Giants on the 3rd November.
The two sides have already met once this season, with the Nix triumphing 82-64 at the George Carnell Sports Centre in Manchester.
The Nix are the most in-form team in the league, having won four games on the bounce, with three of the wins coming on the road. They can 99% assure their place in the BBL Cup quarter-finals with a win on Sunday. Phoenix would need a favour from the Riders on the 8th November as a Leicester win over Glasgow would mean qualification into the next round of the Cup for the Nix.
On the other hand, the Giants have had a poor BBL Cup campaign thus far. Their only win came as a result of Glasgow fielding three ineligible players. They have no chance of qualifying for the latter stages of the Cup after losing six games by a margin of at least 18 points.
However, Sunday’s game is a North West derby, and although Manchester don’t have anything to play for, they will come into the building looking to put an end to Cheshire’s momentum so Ben Thomas’ men will need to be locked in for the full 40 minutes, in order to extend their winning run.
Sunday’s visitors have had some problems with their squad, with players picking up injuries or leaving the club after their disastrous start to the season. Del’Vin Dickerson has played well for them though, the small-forward is averaging 16.2 points-per-game and 7.7 rebounds-per-game this season. He had a cool stat-line of 25 points and 10 rebounds on 57% FG and 50% 3PT in Manchester’s last game against the Sharks. He will look to cause the Nix problems during the derby.
One of Phoenix’s advantages will be that they won’t rely on just one man. Despite their short rotation, the Nix will still have plenty of fire-power available for Sunday’s game. Ben Mockford, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Jalen Hayes have all had remarkable performances during Phoenix’s four-game winning run. Louis Sayers and Disraeli Lufadeju have also contributed well and with Momcilo Latinovic slowly being eased back into the team, the Nix have established themselves as one of the toughest teams in the league.
The Nix did a great job sharing the rock last time out against the Sharks, as they assisted each other 21 times on the night, while their opponents managed just 16 assists. Cheshire took great care of the basketball, as they only committed eight turnovers, while Sheffield were forced into 16 turnovers. However, the Sharks won the rebounding battle 41-34. Ben Thomas’ side will need to be more dominant on the glass against the Giants in order to secure their fifth win of the season.
BRING THE NOISE! GO PHOENIX!