Tall Blacks aim to stay alive in second World Cup qualifier

By Rahia Timutimu

The Tall Blacks are wanting to come back strong with a win in their second qualifying match, to gain a place at the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup, after their loss against Korea on Thursday.

The team hasn't had much time to dwell on the 6-point loss, as they have touched down in Hong Kong to prepare for their match which kicks off early tomorrow morning (NZ Time).

The New Zealand side only had three days to gel as a squad, which was a new experience for them says Māori player Jordan Ngatai.

“We didn’t have much time to create chemistry we usually have with the Tall Blacks. We’re usually fortunate to have a long campaign, but with the three days before we played we tried to get everything sorted. We did pretty well regardless.”

While the loss against Korea in Wellington doesn't hurt New Zealand's chances of making the next round of qualifying too much, they’re still wanting to win the rest of their matches.  Three of the four teams make it through, however, too many more losses will start to count against them given points are carried through to the second round.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henry says, “We’re going to stick to our gameplan and the way we play, we thought Korea played a very good game and unfortunately we didn’t get the win, the guys are ready to put in a good performance."

Hong Kong will also want to get their first win, after losing to China 96 – 44. Hong Kong are ranked 88th in the world to the Tall Black's 27th, New Zealand will go into their next game as favorites.

Maori Television will be live streaming the match between the Tall Blacks and Hong Kong, which commences at 1 am tomorrow morning. Please go to our website maoritelevision.com for more information.