Mersey Tigers head coach Tony Garbelotto has praised the heart of his players after revealing his injury list is more extensive than believed.

The league champions breezed past Cheshire Jets on Sunday night to set up BBL play-off final against Sheffield next Saturday – and remain on course for a potential treble.

Having already lost the services of captain Drew Sullivan, and with Perry Lawson still suffering from a shoulder problem, Garbelotto admits he was forced to patch up his remaining players. 

"We played really solidly and especially since we have multiple injuries," he said. 

"James Jones suffered a strain. He was unbelievable for someone who was limping. It was also debatable whether David Aliu should have even played this weekend, but he had an incredible game on Saturday.

"We're playing really good basketball. Once we stop trading baskets with a team, we're really solid."

Jamal Williams, Garbelotto admits, has been a revelation after stepping into the void left by Sullivan with a series of mature showings.

"I don't see any team in this country who could lose their best player and carry on like this," he said. "Newcastle lost theirs, and you can see what's happened with them, they were unable to recover.

"You could say it's between Drew and Nate for our best player, but we lost Drew for these last three weeks and we've now got a situation where Jamaal steps in and we don't miss a beat.

"Jamaal looks like he's played 50 games this season as a starting player – he's been unbelievable these last few weekends.

"The spirit is incredible, and I don't take anything for granted, they've worked really hard to get to this stage.

"A lot of the stuff we do now on the court comes from a lot of hard in October, November and December when we refined what we had to do, and they still do a great job now and make new adjustments when they need to."

Jones, who has also stepped up in Sullivan’s absence, was relieved to have survived the Jets test.

"I shot a lot better than Saturday, but I suffered a bit of a hamstring injury in the first game so we weren't sure if I'd play," claimed the England captain.

"We jumped out to an 11 point lead at half-time and traded baskets after that.

"We had it under control and it was a good team performance."

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