Confirmed today, Cairns Pop-Up Arena will host the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier between the New Zealand Tall Blacks and the Australian Boomers on Saturday 20 February (9:30pm NZT tip off). The game will be broadcast on Maori Television.

Interestingly, this could be a Tall Blacks team different to any other due to quarantine restrictions and the inability to send New Zealand based players.

That team is still being finalised by Tall Blacks Head Coach Pero Cameron. He says the squad will primarily be made up of players currently based in Australia and attached to leagues outside of the Australian NBL. This is due to the varying quarantine periods required when entering Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Australian NBL Cup’s bubble protocols.

“I’ve had some great conversations with some guys who certainly weren’t expecting to be Tall Blacks in this February window. Circumstances dictate that we need them now, and they’ve responded magnificently to the call to come and represent their country at short notice,” said Cameron.

The New Zealand Tall Blacks are currently top of Group C in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, having already defeated Australia and Guam in the first window in 2020. The top two teams in each group contesting the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers group stage will secure their spot to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup scheduled for August. The qualification to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup will secure the Tall Blacks a place in the qualifying phase for the 2023 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup.