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So proud of the boys: Gleeson

An incredible effort from the severely undermanned Perth Wildcats has fallen short, going down 76-81 to Melbourne United in Game Three of the NBL Grand Final in Melbourne.

The loss gave United their third win of the series and the 2021 NBL Championship.

Trevor Gleeson said he is proud of his team’s effort.

“We’re disappointed with losing, but I can’t be any prouder of the guys, they played the right way, showed a lot of grit, determination and toughness, never quit when multiple times we had chances just to roll over,” he said.

“We’re undermanned, stretched really thin, obviously we had guys come into the game injured, but we just kept on playing and fighting and showing that grit, determination and toughness.

“I’m just so proud of the boys.”

Without Bryce Cotton, and with Luke Travers and Clint Steindl on limited minutes, Perth also lost Mitch Norton before halftime.

Gleeson also revealed that Will Magnay, Jesse Wagstaff and Kevin White were all battling injuries throughout the week.

However, he credited Melbourne United’s championship-winning performance.

“They were certainly the better team, and deserved it, I’m not taking that away from them, they were great.”

After Melbourne opened up a big early lead, the Wildcats were able to claw their way back and took the lead in the third quarter.

With Norton out of the game, Kevin White stepped up and led the team with 14 points, along with John Mooney who also had 13 rebounds.

Will Magnay was solid with 10 points and five rebounds, while Luke Travers nine points and six rebounds was a big part of Perth’s comeback.

Todd Blanchfield had an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double.

The result ends the longest season in NBL history, with Perth and Melbourne playing a record 42 games.

John Mooney played all 42.

The Perth Wildcats congratulate Melbourne United on winning the 2021 NBL Chamionship.

Perth Wildcats 81 (Mooney 14, White 14, Blanchfield 11)

Melbourne United 76 (Landale 15, Goulding 14, Hopson 12)

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