Fico Finance Nelson Giants legend Phill Jones alongside our Bowater Toyota Parts Express Van which has been promoting his achievements this season.
This year saw the passing of the huge milestone for Nelson's favourite basketballer, the legendary, and very humble, Phill Jones. He broke the previous record by achieving 350 games in the National Basketball League mid way through the season, and remarkably most of them have been for the Nelson Giants. In the end he finished up with 369 games, a feat certainly worth celebrating, and a feat that also saw the emergence of another rather large announcement - his retirement from the sport he loves.
Phill began first playing way back in 1993, and he has only missed a couple of local seasons during this whole time, playing both in New Zealand and in Europe and Australia. Both of the times he missed out were due to the rules and regulations surrounding the requirements of athletes to return from "overseas duties" within certain timeframes. For the most part of it he has played for the Nelson Giants as a component of his busy international basketball schedule and has quickly established himself as a cornerstone not only of the entire Fico Finance Nelson Giant's Franchise but also NZ Basketball in general, and the local Nelson sports community as a whole.
He has also played extensively overseas during this time as well on a professional scale, which not only provided an income, but also enabled him to play year round for close to 14 years. He has had a great journey, playing basketball professionally, and raising a family on the basketball circuit. But as with all things, there comes a point where change is inevitable and Phill has chosen to make the move to the next stage of his basketball journey on his own terms, stepping down from a key players role in the Nelson Giants to take on a more managerial one within the franchise.
We recently sat down with Phill and talked about being a professional athlete in Nelson, playing your heart out for the local team, what it means to give back to the community, and how corporate sponsors shape the landscape of sports in this age of professionalism.
Fico Finance Nelson Giants tallman Phill Jones with his recognition of 350 games.
Last night was a very historic night for the Fico Finance Nelson Giants. The man who most of us know as the Giants stalwart and key playmaker, Phill Jones, hit quite a remarkable milestone for any top level athlete. Phill has completed 350 games now for the Nelson Giants!
The game itself, against the Zero Fees Southland Sharks was not such a great result though, with the Fico Finance Nelson Giants shut out by a mere 9 points.
After the Fico Finance Nelson Giants had a few bad minutes, the Zero Fees Southland Sharks were able to capitalise on this turn in the game and sustained it until the end to take the win, 83-94.
Results aside, the achievement by Phill to hit 350 games is amazing, and worth a celebration in itself.
Go Giants Go!
It is going to be a massive weekend ahead for the Fico Finance Nelson Giants with 2 games back to back and also a huge milestone for a key player. This weekend Phill Jones clocks up his 350th game!
OceanaGold Nuggets (4-2) v Fico Finance Nelson Giants (6-2)
When: Friday, May 9, 7pm
Where: Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Last meeting: Giants defeated the Nuggets 87-72 Semi-Final (July 13, 2013)
Referees: Melony Wealleans, Hayden Pipe, Nick Naylor
After a shock loss at home to Taranaki, the fourth placed Nuggets play the Giants who are third. It will be the first time the two teams met since last year’s semi, Giants outscoring the Nuggets 28-9 in the final quarter for the 87-72 win. After a relatively slow start to the season, forward Warren Carter has increased his production, averaging 24 points and 10.7 rebounds in his last three games. Carter will face fellow American Jamal Boykin who is leading the team in scoring (21.5) and rebounds (8). Nuggets are struggling from behind the arc, shooting a league low 19.6%, so far this season starters Troy Payne, Carter and Micah Lepaio have combined to shoot 2/42 (4.7%).
Zerofees Southland Sharks (3-3) v Fico Finance Nelson Giants (6-2)
When: Saturday, May 10, 7pm
Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill
Last meeting: Sharks defeated Giants 92-81, Grand Final (July 14, 2013)
Referees: Melony Wealleans, Hayden Pipe, Nick Naylor
Southland will have an opportunity to beat another top four team in the Giants who won five of their last six. Kevin Braswell is averaging 32.3 points in three wins compared to 14.6 in three losses. After missing five games due to a hamstring injury, Brian Conklin returns to the line up. Nelson will have plenty of motivation as they were defeated by Southland in last year’s Grand Final. Southland won the game by 11, but did lead by as many as 28.
Report Card from the weekend's 2014 Bartercard National Basketball League games.
The OceanaGold Nuggets have pulled off a huge upset defeating the Zerofees Southland.
It was the dream coaching debut for Mark Dickel, opting not to play as the visitor's got off to a strong start, leading the first quarter 27-20.
The last time the two teams met it was one of the Nuggets worst ever defeats, losing 114-67, but it was a new look Nuggets team that has added some size, out-rebounding the Sharks 46-35, Fijian Marques Whippy grabbing 17 on debut.
It was definitely not the start the defending champs were hoping for, but then again they did have a slow start last season and coach Paul Henare will take solace from the fact the bench shot a woeful 3/20 from the field.
NZ Breaker's guard Reuben Te Rangi should be a force in the league this season scoring a game high 28, but concerns are over the health of forward Brian Conklin who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, the forward was limited to only 22 minutes.
Nuggets new import Troy Payne tallied an impressive 24 points, ten rebounds and six assists, veteran forward Brendon Polyblank added 19 in 35 minutes.
In Nelson the Pacific Jewellers Saints have outscored the Fico Finance Giants 26-17 in the final quarter to win 84-78.