It’s back to business after the Christmas celebrations for an array of BBL teams on Sunday – including Manchester Giants.
They were without a win in almost two months, before they beat Plymouth University Raiders last weekend, much to the delight of star guard Ingus Bankevics
The Giants won their opening two games of the season under new player-coach Yorick Williams, but then proceeded to lose 13 of their next 14 including a baron run of eight straight defeats.
However, a combined 58 points from Bankevics and Stefan Gill helped stop the rot and the Latvian admitted it had been a difficult spell to endure.
“We were really happy to get the win, after a tough time,” he declared.
“I won’t lie, it was really hard to be positive, and not only for me – but I can thank my team-mates and coach for helping me stay positive.
“We would practice really hard, but we weren’t getting wins.
“3 or 4 games were really close, but we lost those and other times it was down to making some bad decisions.”
Despite their 4-13 record so far, Bankevics feels he is still seeing improvement and believes there is more to come from his team.
“We are training well, and doing everything we need to do, but sometimes we can’t do the same in a game.
“Every game we are playing better and better, and if we fix some small things then results will be better.
“We are a young team and need time to work better together and understand what the coach wants from us.”
Leeds Force are the visitors this Sunday and will arrive fresh following a two-week break from action.
It will be the first meeting between the two this season, although Leeds have a 3-1 winning record over their opponents in all BBL competitions, and Bankevics is expecting another tough challenge.
“We know it will be a hard game, but we are ready” he insisted.
“Leeds are a good team and play good basketball, but we need to focus on our own game; staying together and playing good defence.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, Worcester Wolves host London Lions and can avenge their BBL Cup Quarter-Final defeat from earlier in the season.
Wolves have been battling through injuries in recent weeks, and have been boosted by the addition of former Lions forward Orlan Jackman. Meanwhile, the Lions have slipped in the standings after losing their last three league games.
Plymouth University Raiders also entertain Surrey Scorchers, with both teams having made changes this week ahead of their important encounter.
The visiting Scorchers will be without Will Neighbour after they confirmed he will sit out the season following shoulder surgery, while Plymouth have signed American Cory Dixon to replace Auryn MacMillan.