Facing the end of their reign as champions, the Breakers were searching for one player to inspire a revival. They found three.

Tom Abercrombie stole the headlines with a season-high 29 points against Townsville on Thursday, but Mika Vukona and CJ Bruton were equally influential in the win.

The team leaders combined for 63 of their side's 102 points and each contributed plays during the fourth-quarter comeback that could have saved the Breakers' season.

The defending champions will again need their experienced core to come to the fore against Cairns tonight, especially as Daryl Corletto and Kerron Johnson are under injury clouds.


With the 48-hour turnaround between games providing another tough test, the Breakers can hardly afford to look ahead to the crunch home games that will conclude their campaign.

Melbourne (12-11) and Sydney (11-11) are in the final two playoff positions and will visit fighting for finals lives. The Breakers (10-14) have to sweep the schedule to have a hope.

Much of that hope must rest on the trio of teammates who produced the three-point win over the Crocs. With Alex Pledger still sidelined, Abercrombie, Vukona and Bruton are the only Breakers present throughout the three championship campaigns, and each will be essential if the club's dream for a fourth title becomes grounded in reality.

Abercrombie will be relied on to carry the majority of the scoring load, especially in the final home run. The swingman thrives at home, averaging 18.7 points in Auckland compared to 13.6 points in Australia.

"I think he's been great at home in the last five or six games," coach Dean Vickerman said. "Maybe sometimes the performances on the road haven't been quite up to the level of his home games."

Vukona, the team's best player this season, refused to let Townsville back into the game, scoring 10 of his season-high 20 points in the final period.

"We ran a few different plays but a lot of it was just get the ball to him," Vickerman said. "He was demanding that basketball, he's wants it right now, he's making good decisions down there."

Bruton was another in a familiar mindset, choosing to tail-end his Breakers career to again demonstrate his big game credentials. With perhaps only four games remaining at the Kiwi club, Bruton stepped up in Corletto's absence and played a season-high 26 minutes.


" He was the motivation for a lot of people in the locker room," Vickerman said.

"It'll be great if he finishes his career as a big game player and keep making plays like that."