When the Tall Blacks face the Philippines tonight – in their first game in four years on home soil – they’ll be backed by a sell-out crowd at Auckland’s EventFinda Stadium.
The final squad list of 12 players has also been confirmed today, with Corey Webster, Dion Prewster, Ethan Rusbatch, Finn Delany, Flynn Cameron, Hyrum Harris, Jordan Ngatai, Sam Timmins, Shea Ili, Taylor Britt, Tohi Smith-Milner and Tom Vodanovich all taking to the court tonight – Cameron being the sole debutant in this experienced squad.
This FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifier is the first Tall Blacks game in Aotearoa since December 2018, when New Zealand beat Syria 97-74 in Wellington – that game featuring three players in the current squad in Vodanovich, Ngatai and Rusbatch.
Since then, the Tall Blacks have played 20 games outside of New Zealand over the past four years, amassing a 11-9 record during that span; this includes 7 wins in their last 8 away games, with their sole loss coming against Australia in March last year.
Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) Chief Executive, Dillon Boucher says that although tonight’s game has sold out at Eventfinda Stadium, fans can still tune into Spark Sport to watch it live. FIBA signed an agreement with Spark Sport last November to broadcast its major competitions in New Zealand, ensuring Kiwis can watch international basketball action leading up to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 and beyond.
“We’re delighted that our first home game in four years is a sell-out; we know that both Kiwi basketball fans and local supporters of the Gilas Pilipinas team, are looking forward to seeing this game play out tonight,” says Boucher.
“And the next best thing is being able to watch the game on Spark Sport, who are FIBA’s broadcast partner in New Zealand.”
The Tall Blacks are one of 15 teams competing in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, with New Zealand top of Pool A and one of eight teams to have so far qualified for the second round. This game will be played in the third of six windows, with the FIBA Basketball World Cup due to tip off on 25 August 2023.
Find out more at www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2023/asian-qualifiers
Watch the game live on Spark Sport; find out more at https://www.sparksport.co.nz
Tall Blacks playing squad (30 June 2022)
Corey Webster, Perth Wildcats / Franklin Bulls
Dion Prewster, Melbourne United / Sandringham Sabres
Ethan Rusbatch, Hawkes Bay Hawks
Finn Delany, NZ Breakers
Flynn Cameron, De Paul University
Hyrum Harris, Adelaide 36ers / Hawkes Bay Hawks
Jordan Ngatai, Cairns Taipans / Wellington Saints
Sam Timmins, NZ Breakers / Otago Nuggets
Shea Ili, Melbourne United / Sandringham Sabres
Taylor Britt, Canterbury Rams
Tohi Smith-Milner, South East Melbourne Phoenix / Sandringham Sabres
Tom Vodanovich, Sydney Kings / Wellington Saints
Head Coach – Pero Cameron
Assistant Coach – Ross McMains
Assistant Coach – Zico Coronel
Gilas Pilipinas playing squad (30 June 2022)
Kiefer Ravena (captain)
Head Coach – Nenad Vučinić