The five time ABA Champion Jacksonville Giants had another exciting night. The Giants edged the Texas based Austin Bats, 132-122 in front of a large crowd at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The game was a rematch from the 2018 ABA Championship game. The victory puts Jacksonville at 9-0 on the season and gives them 31 wins in their last 32 games. 

“It was a great win,” said Giants head coach Jerry Williams. “Austin is a great team. You can see why they played for the championship last year.” 

Before the game the Giants held a ring ceremony to celebrate the teams 2017-18 ABA National Championship season. The pre game ceremony showcased Giants players receiving their championship rings from team Owner Ron Sholes. The Giants fifth ABA National Championship banner was also raised in the Arena. 

“We are very appreciative of our fans, sponsors and community partners,” said Sholes.

The game showcased an epic battle between two of the ABAs most elite teams. The game had 14 lead changes. Austin, the 2018 ABA runner ups, came to play and jumped out to a 63-59 halftime lead. Early in the game the Bats were able to neutralize  the seasoned Giants team. Austin was led by physical play from Demetrius Smith (21 points) and Richard Artis (31 points). 

“We weren’t playing Giants basketball,” said Williams. “We weren’t playing defense.”

Halftime adjustments were made by coach Williams and the Giants began to flourish in the second half. Jacksonville outscored Austin 39-31 in the third quarter behind a more aggressive approach. The Giants played more full court man to man defense, forcing multiple Bats turnovers. Aaron Bowen and Bernard Nugent led the charge as Jacksonville forced 32 Austin turnovers. 

“At halftime we got more energized and focused,” said game MVP Dylon Cormier. “We just played Giants basketball.”

Offensively the Giants never missed a beat. Thunderous slam dunks and long range three pointers energized the Duval County crowd. Jacksonville capitalized on multiple 3D possessions throughout the game. Cormier led the team with 37 points. Bowen (26 points), Nugent (23 points) and Maurice Mickens (22 points) rounded out the top scorers. 

“It was a great win,” said Cormier. “The goal is to go undefeated and win another championship.”

-Story Written by Matt Potak