It may be a pre-season game but the NZ Breakers are taking tomorrow night's game against the Brisbane Bullets at ASB Baypark Arena very seriously indeed.
The Breakers are still smarting after being given an embarrassing 101-62 hiding by Melbourne United in New Plymouth last week. With just tomorrow's game to go before the ANBL gets under way, the Breakers are desperate to put in a better performance from their talented playing roster.
Experienced small forward Tom Abercrombie, 30, is about to start his 10th season with the Breakers and felt the pain of that thumping in New Plymouth more than most.
He says the Breakers will be switched on for the Brisbane Bullets.
"We weren't happy with our last pre-season game and it just showed if you are not totally locked into your game, any team in this league can do that to you.
"It was definitely a good thing it happened in the pre-season and not during the regular season. It was a good wake-up call for us. We probably got a bit complacent after the first game that we played pretty well in down in Hawke's Bay."
Abercrombie says tomorrow's game against Brisbane takes on far greater importance than normal after that thumping by Melbourne.
"The pre-season games take on more and more significance the closer you get to the season. This being our last hit-out, and I think the last for Brisbane as well before the first official game, makes this a really important game for us.
"It is the last chance to work on things in a real game situation and lock in rotation and things like that. It is important to get us playing the way we want to."
Breakers US imports in point guard Edgar Sosa and combo guard DJ Newbill add real talent and flair to the Breakers roster. They have settled in well and will be a real asset to the team," Abercrombie said.
"They have been awesome. I have been really, really impressed with how they have bought into our team culture. They are adding a lot to our chemistry and are great guys away from the court as well.
"They are both finding their feet within our system and starting to play really well. Edgar is a great pick up for us at the point. He can really shoot the ball and can play him off the ball as well. Which a good luxury to have.
"He plays both ends and is a competitor, as is DJ who plays really hard and is a great defender. He is a really strong player who gives us a different look on the perimeter."
Abercrombie is looking forward to playing at ASB Baypark Arena again.
"It is a fantastic venue and a real fun place to go and play. The boys love going down there and we always get a good crowd in Tauranga and we are looking forward to putting on a good show for the fans there."
Tauranga Boys' College and Mount Maunganui College meet in the curtain raiser at 5.30pm before the main event tips off at 7pm.
Tickets: www. premier.ticketek.co.nz