NBL teams relish Blenheim 'blitz'

The action was fast and furious when three of the leading NZ National Basketball League teams met in two pre-season match-ups at Stadium 2000 on Friday and Saturday.

In what was tagged the NBL Pre-season Blitz, the Nelson Giants, Canterbury Rams and Wellington Saints took the opportunity to give their extended squads some game time in Blenheim before the NBL kicks off next Saturday.

The teams opted for a six-quarter format, giving each side a chance to play each other on both days.

Nelson Giants’ head coach Mike Fitchett said the weekend was “an awesome chance to have a hit-out”.

“We have been training since February 1, just playing ourselves … guys are getting a bit sick of each other, things are getting a bit tense at practice so to play quality opposition such as the Saints and Rams, two teams that are always in amongst it at the pointy end of the season, it’s a great chance for our guys to see where we are at.

Mike said the weekend was certainly not all about results. “Scoreboard is not a real factor for us. We want to play as many possessions as well as we can.

“I was mainly impressed with the energy our guys played with and the team camaraderie, the guys were right into it. Systems-wise there is a lot to sharpen up, we are definitely still in pre-season but that was expected.

“Marlborough has done an awesome job [putting on the event]. … it’s just a great place for all of us to come to and the MBA committee has done a hell of a job looking after us. We are really grateful.”

PHOTO: Canterbury Rams forward Jack Salt, a former US college basketball star who has been out of action for the past 24 months, made his return to the court on Saturday. Photo Peter Jones