Tall Blacks Trim Squad to 16 for FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Versus Philippines

Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) has announced a trimmed down list of 16 players in contention for the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers game this Thursday 30 June, when the Tall Blacks face Gilas Pilipinas in Auckland.

The squad list includes: Corey Webster, Dion Prewster, Ethan Rusbatch, Finn Delany, Flynn Cameron, Hyrum Harris, Isaac Davidson, Jordan Ngatai, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Sam Mennenga, Sam Timmins, Shea Ili, Taki Fahrensohn, Taylor Britt, Tohi Smith-Milner, Tom Vodanovich.

These 16 players will assemble in Auckland from today for a 3-day mini-camp; head coach Pero Cameron is expected to name a final playing squad of 12 players on Wednesday 29 June. Also present at this camp will be ex-Tall Black Mika Vukona, who will serve as a player mentor for the squad’s younger players.

The event on 30 June will mark the first Tall Blacks game on home soil since 2018, with Eventfinda Stadium expected to be a sell-out crowd on the night.

And it won’t just be kiwis in the crowd supporting their national team – a large number of Philippines supporters will be in attendance, to witness the much anticipated re-match between Gilas Pilipinas and the Tall Blacks. The last time these two teams faced each other back in February, in Manila for Window 2 of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the Tall Blacks came away with an 88-63 win in front of a fervent Philippines crowd.

Gilas Pilipinas will be bringing an 11-man squad to New Zealand, including veteran point guard Kiefer ‘Thirdy’ Ravena as captain and Japan-based star Dwight Ramos. They’ll be without the services of naturalized Filipino center Ange Kouame, who is recovering from a partial ACL tear. And calling the shots for Gilas Pilipinas will be coach Nenad Vučinić, a Tall Blacks legend as both a player and coach – something that is sure to bring some extra spice to the game.

The Tall Blacks are one of 15 teams competing in the FIAB World Cup Asian Qualifiers, with the New Zealand tops in 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.

The Tall Blacks take on the Philippines at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland, 7.30pm on 30 June. Find out more at www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2023/asian-qualifiers

Tall Blacks Squad of 16 (27 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
Isaac Davidson, NZ Breakers / Franklin Bulls
Jordan Ngatai, Cairns Taipans / Wellington Saints
Kruz Perrott-Hunt, University of South Dakota
Sam Mennenga, Davidson College
Sam Timmins, NZ Breakers / Otago Nuggets
Shea Ili, Melbourne United / Sandringham Sabres
Taki Fahrensohn, Ehingen / Auckland Tuatara
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
Team Manager – Gavin Briggs

Gilas Pilipinas Squad of 11 (26 June 2022)
Kiefer Ravena (captain)
RJ Abarrientos
SJ Belangel
Rhenz Abando
Geo Chiu
Dave Ildefonso
Francis Lopez
William Navarro
Kevin Quiambao
Dwight Ramos
Carl Tamayo

Head Coach – Nenad Vučinić