The Rocks will look to wrap up third place in the BBL Championship when they host Mersey Tigers at the Emirates Arena this evening.
Rocks’ player-coach Davis is looking for a repeat of when the teams met earlier in the campaign: “The Tigers are a team that haven’t had much success this season but play very hard and are hungry for that first victory.
“Their production has varied from game to game. I think different guys are called on to do different things every game. I thought we did a good job of jumping on these guys early. It set a tone for us to hold ourselves accountable for.”
Tigers’ centre Chris Bigley knows the size of the task facing his team as they bid to end that losing run: “Rocks have been fantastic since the turn of the year. Getting over the ‘is he isn’t he’ saga with Keiron Achara mustn’t have been easy, and I think it’s fair to say that the dynamic of their team has altered a lot since his departure, but it’s a testament to the work Sterling Davis has done to say that the transition has been somewhat seamless.
“I put that down to a number of factors. One – Donald Robinson has stepped up from becoming a slightly better than average import player to a legitimate league MVP candidate. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the Rocks have won a lot more games since he stepped up to the mark. He’s versatile – gets to the cup very easily and is an under rated jump shooter.
“Two – the addition of Jamie Vanderbeken. It is such a useful commodity to have a 6’11” guy who can plug the lane up as effectively as he does, and be able to step out and shoot the ball extremely efficiently. Three – the leadership of guys like Sterling, EJ Harrison and Murray. Can we call Murray a vet now? He certainly appears to have that knowledge anyway. Those guys know the league and know how to get it done, it’s that simple.
“They play good team basketball, and I genuinely believe that this team can make a deep run in the play-offs toward the championship. The play-offs are a strange one this year, I think any one of the top seven teams can win it, Sheffield have proven they can win big games, Heat are the definition of team ball, Raiders have some of the league’s most explosive players, Rocks are a team who have really come together since Christmas, Worcester don’t move aside easy and play tough ball and we all know about Eagles and Riders. It will be the best playoffs for years I imagine.”