Glasgow Rocks coach Tony Garbelotto pulled no punches after his side sustained an 86-76 defeat to Sheffield Sharks in their British Basketball League opener last night. Soft, he declared. Disjointed. Lacklustre, at times. Early days, of course. However the Londoner’s revamped roster can expect to feel the backlash of hard graft this week in a bid to achieve the rapid improvements he will assuredly demand.

In front of what was a club record crowd of 5,000 at the Emirates Arena, it was an opportunity to impress and entice that slipped through the Rocks grasp. Ahead early, the hosts were pinned back, then found a response but subsequently shrunk in stature as Sheffield opened their own account. Despite

a game-high 21 points from the Great Britain internationalist Gareth Murray, Garbelotto saw precious little to savour and too much that pained.

“That’s a game that got away from us,” he said. “We didn’t understand that we were facing a good team which was taking some pride from losing their opening game. They responded. They were aggressive and confident. And we were never at the races.

“We were poor in the first half. Then we locked in and played well. But when we had a chance to kill them off, we levelled off. Maybe it’s a fitness factor. We have a lot to work on. But I knew that coming in. There’s a massive learning curve for us because we’re so far behind these teams.”

Sheffield’s 13-0 run at the outset of the second quarter extinguished Glasgow’s momentum as the visitors rolled towards a 51-41 half-time lead. And although new point guard Martez Harrison was instrumental as the Rocks hit 16 unanswered points to begin the third, the Sharks simply had more bite when it counted and in Mackey McKnight, who scored 18, an irresistible and ultimately decisive force.

After signing a one-month deal late on Saturday, American guard Earl Brown – who spent last term with Cheshire Phoenix - was a non-factor even in limited minutes and may even have been a distraction, Garbelotto conceded. “I was worried coming in about bringing Earl in and trying to integrate him in a single practice. We don’t know our identity at the moment so we need more.”

Elsewhere, London Lions sit top of the table after the opening weekend after easing past Surrey Scorchers 93-78.


BBL. Glasgow Rocks 76 Sheffield Sharks 86, London Lions 93 Surrey Scorchers 78