The Tall Blacks sponsored by Security Placements, has dramatically kept alive its hopes of qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympics by beating the much higher ranked Turkey 102-101 in a thriller in Dongguan.
The win was built on a wide reaching offensive effort, with Rob Loe enjoying his best game of the tournament, named man of the match for a display that included one handed put back dunks, three rebounds, four assists and his trademark shooting from deep, ending with 17 points including 3 of 5 from downtown.
The support cast was extensive with Isaac Fotu posting 17 points and 5 boards, and young Finn Delany coming alive for a breakout performance at this level with 12 points and 7 massive rebounds. The power forward found his hops and his confidence in an aerial display that wowed the crowd and quietened the Turks, spending much of this time at altitude above the rim. Tai Webster had 12 points, three boards and three assists while the tournaments leading scorer Corey Webster also had 12 and dished off five dimes as he was often shut down by the Turkish scout.
The victory in Dongguan was notable on a number of fronts, securing the Tall Blacks top spot in their final classification pool as well as a position at one of four Olympic qualifying tournaments to be held next year. Twenty four teams will play in four tournaments, with just the tournament winners booking a place in Tokyo.