Nelson Giants captain Phill Jones receives a standing ovation from coaching staff Ed Book and Liam Flynn after putting in a season best performance. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Here come the Giants

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In the final game of the regular season, the Fico Finance Nelson Giants set the Trafalgar Centre alight, breezing past the Southland Sharks 119-100.
No fewer than four Giants scored more than 20 points, including captain Phill Jones who put to bed any rumours that he might be pulling the curtain on his career with the most emphatic exclamation point.
After labelling it the best offensive performance of the season, Giants coach Liam Flynn admits the team still has some things to work on in the defensive end of the court ahead of this weekend’s playoff series. “We were solid but we weren’t great tonight and we want to be great,” he says. “But they’re a good team, they came in here and they played really hard but we were just better tonight.”
Nelson Giants MVP Josh Pace was the top scorer for the Giants with 24 points while Erron Maxey and Mika Vukona replicated their captain with 22 points. Josh Bloxham nearly made it five players passing the 20 point mark, falling one shy with 19.
Clearly happy with what he saw in the attacking end of the court, Liam says the side is full of confidence heading into Saturday’s semi-final against the Otago Nuggets in Napier, and the timing for Phill Jones’ return to form couldn’t have been better. “On the record I think he has a lot of basketball in front of him and it’s great to see a performance like this [from him.] I think he was real solid on the defence end as well and for me he should definitely keep playing basketball.”
The win over Southland means Nelson will avoid playing championship favourites Wellington Saints in the semi-finals, but Liam says it didn’t matter who the Giants had to face in the first play off game.
If the Giants can overturn the Otago Nuggets again in Saturday’s semi-final, they will face the winner of the Sharks versus Saints game on Sunday. All playoff games will be held in Napier.