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Remarkable Garbelotto gets Tigers on track

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Remarkable Garbelotto gets Tigers on track

Mersey Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto must have the patience of a saint, but he has shown his undoubted coaching credentials inside the opening two weekends of the new BBL season.

Mersey Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto must have the patience of a saint, but he has shown his undoubted coaching credentials inside the opening two weekends of the new BBL season.

Having led the Liverpool-club to the treble of league, trophy and play-offs last season, Garbelotto would have been forgiven for taking a relaxing summer to reflect on the achievements of last term.

Instead uncertainty ensued, not for the first time in his four-year career in Merseyside, so much so that the Tigers’ opening game against Cheshire Jets was re-arranged less than a week before it was due to take place, with just two players on the Tigers books.

Of those two players one, Great Britain captain and long-time prodigy of Garbelotto, Drew Sullivan, left the club, fed up with the financial woe that has plagued the club.

It meant that throughout the entire club, only Garbelotto and newly-appointed skipper David Aliu remained from the all-star team that almost swept all before them last season.

Andrew Thomson moved to rivals Newcastle Eagles, veteran Nate Reinking made a return to Sheffield Sharks while just a fortnight ago, James Jones ran out of patience with the Tigers and moved to Plymouth Raiders.

With Tafari Toney moving to France and Perry Lawson not returning, a whole new team was required to take the Tigers forward.

And after just two training sessions, the patched up team hit the court at the club’s brand new venue at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, only to suffer a heavy 99-56 loss at the hands of Sheffield.

But quite remarkably, two days later, Garbelotto had managed to work his magic on his new side, masterminding an away victory at Cheshire Jets, who were up there with the Tigers at the top of the BBL last season.

Garbelotto boasts young British trio Myles Hesson, Devan Bailey and James Griffiths in his ranks, and if there is a coach who can nurture their development it is he.

Despite suffering an overtime loss to Sheffield on Friday night, in just seven days Garbelotto’s side had completed a 43-point turnaround and showed that despite their off-court woes, they are still in with a shout of honours this season.

And the reason they have that chance is down to the coach. Opposite number Atiba Lyons was quick to praise the “great job” Garbelotto has done in a short space of time with his young side, knocked together in a very short space of time thanks to hours of scouting and research put in while everybody awaited some direction from the Tigers administration.

Winning the treble last season may well be the highlight of Garbelotto’s career so far, but picking up silverware in even greater adversity this year, could be up there as his greatest achievement.

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