The Championship game was Jacksonville’s biggest test for the season. The Giants would advance to the ABA Finals game with their opponent being the local Austin Bats team. The Bats, like the Giants, had only one loss this season and would look to benefit from the home court advantage as this seasons ABA Championship tournament was held in Austin, Texas. However, the Giants used their championship attitude to outplay the aggressive Bats team and win their third straight championship.
“We did it for Duval,” said guard Bernard Nugent. Nugent was named ABA Finals MVP. “We are glad to win this championship.”
The Bats jumped out to an early 19-13 first quarter lead, but the speedy play of Jacksonville helped the Giants regain the lead late in the first. Former ABA MVP Jeremiah Hill converted on an explosive slam dunk at the end of the quarter to give his team a 33-28 lead. Bell ended the game with 10 points on the night. Calvin Warner also provided strong inside play with 15 points in the game. Jeremiah Hill came off the bench to add nine points.
The second quarter was thrilling for both fan bases as both team competed back and forth. Offensively the tempo was rapid for both teams with the Giants hanging on to a slim 61-58 halftime lead. Similar to the Final Four game, Jacksonville regained their composure and went into the fourth and final quarter with a superior 94-79 lead. The guard play was once again the difference throughout the game for Jacksonville. Reigning ABA MVP and point guard Maurice Mickens scored 35 points on the night, with shooting guard Nugent adding 25 points. The duo contributed for just over 50 percent of the teams total points on the evening.
Despite the lead, Austin didn’t back down. The Bats went on a scoring rally of their own, cutting the Giant lead to 107-104 midway through the fourth quarter. Dee Grismore was the leading scorer for the Bats with 20 points. At this moment the Giants looked to Mickens to make a play and the ABA All Star did just that. Mickens landed four straight three-point baskets, which extended the Giants lead and ultimately helped seal the win and third straight Championship.
“We did what champions do which is finish on top,” said Warner. “No matter how it looked we prevailed in the end.”