Basketball: Singleton powers Jets' twin ambition

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Billy Singleton, the man mountain at the heart of Chester Jets' breakthrough to the club's first ever major final, warned 7-UP League Trophy opponents London Towers "we are ready, big time" as he looked forward to next month's showdown at Birmingham's NEC.

Chester and Towers put the final on the back burner this weekend as they resume their rivalry for the Budweiser League title in a five-way fight alongside Sheffield Sharks, Birmingham Bullets and the Docklands-based Leopards.

The Jets, who reached the final after Thursday night's 93-92 semi-final win at Leicester City Riders, are away to Thames Valley Tigers tonight and at home to the Bullets tomorrow.

Chester's week began with a 76-75 League defeat at the Towers, which gave the title initiative to the Wembley-based club. The 6ft 8in Singleton, whose power plays and 32 points were the cornerstone of Thursday's victory, said: "It was a tough start to the week and now we've got another tough weekend. We must concentrate on that and forget the final for a while."

Towers reached the final with an 80-71 victory over Sheffield. Tonight Towers visit Manchester Giants, where the coach, Joe Whelton, is enduring a difficult return to English basketball after an all-conquering five years in Switzerland.

Last weekend Giants scrambled to a 76-73 win over the Tigers after three successive League defeats. Whelton said: "We need people to step up and take responsibility and it just isn't happening."

Leicester's American Leon McGee vowed never to play for the club again after a row with the coach, Bob Donewald, condemned him to the bench for Thursday's semi-final with Chester. Tomorrow Leicester are at home to the Leopards, with Donewald hoping McGee will relent and play.

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