Bulls recover quickly to take down Giants

The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls responded positively after their defeat to the Auckland Huskies the previous day with an 82-70 victory over the Mike Pero Nelson Giants.         

The injury-ravaged Mike Pero Nelson Giants, without the services of their Tall Black trio Mike Karena (ankle), Josh Bloxham (concussion) and Mika Vukona (appendix), fought gamely but lacked the manpower to seriously trouble the Bulls.

Franklin forward Dom Kelman-Poto enjoyed a field day, finishing with 26 points on 78% shooting (11/14FG) and eight rebounds whilst Isaac Davidson (16 points), Chris McIntosh (10 points) and Joel Vaiangina (8 points) also had productive outings.

Nelson was well served by tireless captain Tom Ingham (18 points), with Nic Trathen (15 points), Theo Johnson (10 points) and Dane Brooks (nine points and eight rebounds) providing useful hands. Rookie guard Alex McNaught exemplified the Giants effort with four points, seven assists and a couple of steals.

Thane O’Leary, having incurred a shoulder injury in the opening game of the season, made a welcome return to the Giants line-up. Along with young centre Josh Leger, the pair did a good job containing Sam Timmins although Kelman-Poto’s 10 points eased the Bulls to a 28-18 lead in the opening period.

A Bensemann triple and Ingham pull-up jumper initiated the Giants scoring in the second quarter and with Tom Gargiulo navigating his way through the paint the Giants were in touch trailing 35-28 deep into the first half.

With Nikau McCullough and Kelman-Poto having the final say of the half, the Bulls headed to the locker room with a 41-28 advantage.

Brooks and Johnson made buckets for the Giants, but McIntosh and Vaiangina kept the Bulls in the ascendancy; 57-43 ahead with four minutes to play in the third frame.

Zeb Lovell and McIntosh scores cancelled each other out but Davidson’s buzzer-beater to conclude the third stanza meant Franklin were 70-51 ahead.

The Giants stuck to their task in the final quarter but couldn’t make much impression on the Bulls lead. Nelson slips to 3-7, the Bulls are now 6-4 and firmly inside the top-three on the ladder.


Final score:

  • Bulls 82 - Dom Kelman-Poto (26pts & 8rbs), Isaac Davidson (16pts & 4rbs), Chris McIntosh (10pts).
  • Giants 70 - Tom Ingham (18pts & 4rbs), Nic Trathen (15pts), Dane Brooks (9pts & 8rbs).


Talking Points

  1. Could the Giants muster any sort of challenge without their three Tall Blacks Mika Vukona, Mike Karena and Josh Bloxham? They worked extremely hard but rarely troubled a confident Bulls outfit.
  2. Without Karena and Vukona, how would the Giants nullify the towering presence of Bulls centre Sam Timmins? The former Tall Black only scored seven points but Kelman-Poto gave the Giants frontcourt more than enough to think about.
  3. Could the Bulls bounce back from their narrow loss to the Auckland Huskies the previous night? A positive yes was the answer!

Sky City MVP Votes: 

Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls-10), Isaac Davidson (Bulls-7), Tom Ingham (Giants-7), Chris McIntosh (Bulls-4), Nic Trathen (Giants-2).


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