Austin, TX – The four time defending ABA National Champion Jacksonville Giants have advanced to the ABA Championship game following a thrilling 111-102 win over the Maryland based DMV Warriors. The Giants will play the winner of the Austin Bats vs South Florida Gold game in the finals. The championship game will take place Saturday at 7:00 p.m., central time, in Austin, Texas.
“The guys played their best basketball of the season in the first three quarters and, like champions, weathered the storm late in the game,” said head coach Jerry Williams.
Jacksonville led a majority of the game, but did face a late comeback attempt from DMV. The Giants led 88-65 going into the fourth quarter. However, the Warriors went on a scoring frenzy, going on a 15-1 run which cut the deficit to 96-88 with 5:16 remaining in the game. The Giants were able to make adjustments and finish the game in championship fashion.
“Anything worth having is tough,” said assistant coach Marcus Thomas. “We pulled away early but DMV played hard. Third straight championship game.”
Jacksonville was led by strong guard play from reigning ABA MVP Maurice Mickens and Bernard Nugent. Both Mickens and Nugent scored 21 points each, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the Giants total points. Jeremiah Hill (17 points) and Delwan Graham (14 points) rounded out the top scorers for Jacksonville. Graham was instrumental coming off the bench both offensively and defensively.
“We are one game away from our goal,” said Nugent.
The Giants jumped out to an early lead and eventually led by as much as 25 points over DMV. Most of the first half the Giants held a strong double digit lead by completely dominating the boards and outside shooting game. Robert Hornsby sunk back to back three pointers Calvin Warner converted on two crowd pleasing slam dunks.
“It was a great team win,” said Giants veteran center Jermaine Bell. “We are bringing our fifth championship back to Duval. Everyone tune in to watch us make history tomorrow night.”
The Giants are looking to win their fifth ABA Championship in the history of the franchise. Jacksonville will also be the first team in ABA history to win three straight ABA Championships.