Manchester Giants’ Ingus Bankevics believes his side have nothing to lose heading into Sunday’s BBL Trophy match against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle.
Yorick Williams’ side have recently ended their dismal run of one win in 14 games with two triumphs in their last three outings, but face a huge challenge this weekend.
Bankevics is aware how the Giants aren’t expected to come away with a result against Newcastle, but nevertheless the game offers a fantastic opportunity for his side.
“Newcastle are the best team in the UK at the moment. They are good in all positions, play together and know each other very well,” the 30-year-old Latvian said.
“Last time we played Newcastle, we played well for 34 minutes, did everything we wanted, but didn’t do it for 40 minutes.
“We have some plans for how we can stop them, and I hope it works, but of course it will be a hard game. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Bankevics has been in great form for the Manchester side recently, and grabbed 22 points in last week’s 88-79 win against Cheshire Phoenix.
However they face a Newcastle side who are not only the holders of the BBL Trophy, but who have won every game so far this season.
The Eagles have already defeated Yorick Williams’ side by more than 30 points twice this season, with the last meeting ended 108-85 in favour of Newcastle in November.
In fact, the Giants have not beaten the Eagles since their return to the BBL in 2012, a run which spans 11 matches between the sides.
However Newcastle guard Drew Lasker has demonstrated his side won’t take the Giants for granted, offering particular praise for Callum Jones, who was named in the latest All-Star Five.
“Giants have got some guys that can really, really put it up,” Lasker said.
“We’ve got to limit them in transition but also make sure that we limit Stefan Gill and Ingus Bankevics those two because they can get hot in a hurry and carry a load offensively.
“If we limit them and make Callum Jones uncomfortable, because he pretty much pulls the strings for that team, that will be the focus as well as limiting their three-point shooting.”
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