From the Vault | BBNZ Classic Matches #8

Looking for some basketball to watch?

With our tournaments and leagues on a temporary hiatus, we’ve gone through the archives to bring you some classic games from yesteryear to watch!

If you have any games you’d like to see, or have access to recorded games you can share, please let us know by contacting us here.


BBNZ Classic Match #8: 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifier | Tall Blacks vs. China (1 July 2018, Spark Arena)

This was a game that screamed ‘statement’ in ways beyond just the result. It was played in front of a record near capacity Spark Arena Crowd of 8000 fans, it confirmed the Tall Blacks as one of the powerhouse teams of Asia with a win over China in front of no less than Yao Ming, and they achieved it all without being at full strength, with a several players committed to club action in other parts of the world.

In an all-round team effort, the Tall Blacks were led by Isaac Fotu (15), Tom Abercrombie (14) and Rob Loe (13) in scoring, but the big plays came from throughout the roster, with indefatigable captain Mika Vukona the inspiration in a final quarter performance that will leave the Chinese players with nightmares of their visit to Auckland, while Loe added 10 boards in a career game in the black singlet.

China came out strongly and led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter, but the home side turned the screws in the second quarter to keep China to just 11 points for the ten minutes, to lead comfortably at the break.

Tom Abercrombie of the Tall Blacks

China made their run late in the third, to take the lead late in the third quarter, but the Tall Blacks responded in style, locking the visitors down again in the final quarter on the back of inspirational plays from Vukona and a dagger three from Jarrod Kenny.

Perhaps best summing up the passion and togetherness of the Tall Blacks and how much culture means to the team, was news post game that Isaac Fotu had turned down an invite to the NBA Summer League with the Boston Celtics to say with the team and play in this one game.

MBO Tall Blacks 67 (Fotu 15, Abercrombie 14, Loe 13)

China 57 (Abudushalamu 23)



Photos: Masanori Udagawa