Cheshire_Phoenix logo 568New signing David Aliu has targeted silverware next season after joining Cheshire Phoenix on a two-year deal from BBL rivals Manchester Giants.

The 33-year-old was one of the stand-out performers in the BBL last season, averaging an impressive 22.2 points per game. Aliu ends his two-year spell with the Giants in search of more BBL success, having been a part of Mersey Tigers’ treble-winning squad in 2010-11.

He told MVP, “My whole mindset is to come to win. It’s a must and I’m very excited to be a part of this team for the next two years.”

“The club is definitely going in the right direction and the team’s going to be very strong next season.

“It’s just perfect for me. I don’t have to do much travelling and securing this deal early on means I don’t have to worry about finding somewhere late in the summer and it’s easier to plan spending time with my family.”

Aliu has fond memories of his time with the Giants and helped the club reach the play-offs after narrowly missing out in their first season back in the BBL.

“I loved my time with Manchester. It was great to be a part of the team’s return to the BBL having used to watch the team when I was growing up. The fans made it great for me with their unbelievable support.

He added: “It’s always difficult making a move because you make connections with the fans and I have a lot of friends on that team, but sometimes, you just have to do what’s best for yourself.”

Unsurprisingly, Aliu was in high demand with a number of teams interested in his signature before Cheshire secured the deal. The news of his departure came as a double blow for the Giants after it was confirmed that Rob Marsden will be heading to France next season to play for NM1 side Cognac.

The Doncaster-born forward also impressed, in what was his first season in the BBL, averaging 14.3 points per game along with 8.7 rebounds. Marsden claimed the Player of the Month award in March and was named in the league’s British Team of the Year alongside team-mate Aliu.

“I’m really happy for him,” said Aliu. “He’s a great guy and he’s taken the right step to progress his career in Europe. From day one to the end of the season, we knew what we were getting from Rob; hard-work with non-stop intensity.”

Their absences leave a gaping hole for the Giants to fill, and the departures will surely test Jeff Jones’ resolve in avoiding utilising his available import slots. Spaniard Iker Amuchastegui has so far been the only non-British player to feature for the Giants since their return to the BBL, although he was used sparingly throughout their campaign.

As for the ‘Nix, promising signs are at the fore as the club continues to make progress having been saved from the brink of extinction in November 2012. Cheshire were one of the strongest teams in the league in the middle part of the season before injuries curtailed their challenge for silverware late on.

Head-coach John Lavery seems keen to build on last season’s progress by beginning to assemble another strong squad with the early additions of Aliu and Devan Bailey. The pair will be re-united for a second time having previously played together at Mersey and most recently, Manchester.

Bailey committed his future to the club by agreeing a two-year deal having been a late addition to Cheshire’s squad last season, joining in November. The 25-year-old is regarded as one of the best defensive guards in the league and Aliu is excited about the pair’s reunion.

He said: “I’ve played with Devan a few times and it’s a real pleasure to be on his team. His intensity is always very high and he’s very energetic, which is great. I’m looking forward to playing with him again.”

Speaking about the pair’s two-year deals, he added: “It’s about time teams started looking after British players. It’s rare that it happens, but the club is setting the mark and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

A strong statement of intent from Cheshire has been made and the club still has plenty of time to mould a Championship contending squad ahead of next season.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login