Mason Bourcier: Thursday night a must-win game
Manchester Giants guard Mason Bourcier says the squad are treating Thursday night's clash with Plymouth City Patriots as a "must-win" game, as they prepare for back-to-back matches at the NBPC.
The Giants return to league duties with a crunch game against the Patriots - who start the weekend as the only side below them in the British Basketball League standings.
However, the Patriots did show signs of improvement during the group stages of the Trophy, beating Caledonia Gladiators 88-81 and suffering narrow defeats to Surrey Scorchers and Sheffield Sharks as they bowed out of the competition.
Speaking ahead of Thursday night, Canadian Bourcier insists the group are champing at the bit to get their season back on track.
"I’m definitely excited and ready," he said.
"We stayed in the gym over the break, and I know the team is coming together for this last part of the season.
"It's definitely a must-win, especially after some of the close games that we should have won earlier in the season.
"There’s no more room to give games away at this point. We must show up with urgency and focus."
Thursday's game is the first of successive matches on home soil, with local rivals and Trophy winners Cheshire Phoenix lying in wait on Saturday night.
The Giants current sit locked on seven wins with eighth-placed Surrey Scorchers, but with the teams above all still with games in hand to play, Bourcier knows the most important thing is points on the board.
He and the squad will also be hoping for a repeat of the last encounter between the Giants and Patriots at the NBPC, which resulted in a nail-biting 91-90 win in favour of the home side.
"Getting a chance to take these head-to-head matchups are huge, especially late in the season when we're fighting for a play-off spot.
"Plymouth have some new additions to their roster and are very competitive, so it’s important for us to establish the pace of the game early and not let their imports get going."