On Friday night in Cairns Alex Pledger will turn out for the 200th time in a Breakers uniform. He will become just the fifth Breaker to reach that mark behind Mika Vukona (315), Paul Henare (250), Tom Abercrombie (241) and Dillon Boucher (220).
Pledger says it is quite ironic that he plays his 200th game against the Taipans, “My 100th and 150th games were both against the Taipans, and it’s a bit of a strange coincidence that the 200th is against them as well.”
Now in his eighth season with the club – he debuted as a development player against Melbourne Tigers in October 2009 – Pledger has played on all four SKYCITY Breakers championship winning teams.
He missed the second half of the 2013-2014 season due to injury but either side of that he has been remarkably resilient missing just 5 of the Breakers 178 games in that time.
“I didn’t think I would get to this in the last couple of years but I’m pretty proud to get to that number and the body is feeling pretty good at the moment so hopefully I can go on and get a few more,” said Pledger.
He was the NBL’s leading shot blocker in 2012/13 (46 at 1.5bpg) and rebounder (227 at 7.3rpg). He also had his most productive scoring season, notching 331 points at 10.7 per outing.
This season he leads the NBL in field goal shooting percentages – 64.8% (75/116), is third on the shot blocking list (26 at 1.4pg) and 7th in rebounding (121 at 6.7pg).
Breakers head coach Paul Henare believes there is plenty more to come from his centre.
“He is only 29 and and big guys come into their prime in their late twenties early thirties so I think we will see further improvements in Alex’s game over the coming seasons.”
Pledger by Numbers
2009 – 2017 New Zealand Breakers
Appearances 199 – 5th all-time
Blocks 218 – First all-time
Rebounds 1,080 – 3rd all-time
Points 1,509 – 8th all-time
Double doubles 16 – 4th all-time
Wins 136 – 3rd all-time