Mersey Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto has urged his side to put their BBL Cup final nightmare behind them and focus on protecting their league leadership.

The Tigers host Cheshire Jets on Friday at the Echo Arena with their playcaller admitting his players are still traumatised by the manner of their capitulation to Sheffield Sharks last Sunday.

Four games in seven days will factor heavily in their title hopes, Garbelotto states, as will Mersey’s ability to rebound from a performance which he described as the “most disappointing” of his career?

“To say that we are disappointed is an understatement.  I think we are all still in shock.  I think the players and myself are more disappointed in the fact we just did not turn up to play and that is the real mystery.

“We pride ourselves in being ready for all outcomes and to keep games close.  The team that played on Sunday did not resemble anything like the team that has played all season.  Can we bounce back?  We have no option as we play four games in seven days that could shape our season.  Only then will we know the answer.”

Reinking could return

The Cup runners-up could have Nate Reinking back against the Jets after the GB guard missed the demolition with a calf injury.

However, with Cheshire sitting in second place in the league standings, Garbelotto admits Paul Smith’s men will poke and prod at Mersey’s psychological scars.

“The Jets have been fantastic the whole of the season,” he said.

“The most impressive aspect of their team has been the number of close games they have won.  That shows me that they are a cohesive unit that will not give in at any time.

“Paul has done a tremendous job in keeping this team right in the title chase even with key players out.”

Tigers captain Drew Sullivan says it is up to the players to provide an adequate response, having openly criticised his colleagues performance at the NIA.

“Our goal now is to get back to the kind of basketball that we were playing a couple months ago when we went into games and teams knew how we were going to play and we imposed our will to win on them,” said Sullivan.

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