Masters Games: Basketball clash tests Anzac spirit

By Grant Chapman

Tall Blacks legend Phill Jones drives on old rival Sam Mackinnon during their Anzac basketball clash at the World Masters Games 2017. Photo / Sylvia Wilkins
Tall Blacks legend Phill Jones drives on old rival Sam Mackinnon during their Anzac basketball clash at the World Masters Games 2017. Photo / Sylvia Wilkins

Anzac spirit was put to the test when the World Masters Games pitted one of New Zealand's most competitive basketball legends against a couple of Australia's greatest.

The result - a hard-fought contest that went down to the wire.

Former Tall Black Phill Jones, 43, is only one year retired from the New Zealand NBL, where he became the first player to log more than 400 games. But even he could not steer his Rack City side to victory over the Melbourne-based Hasbeens in a transtasman exhibition game at North Shore Events Centre yesterday.

Leading by 10 points through three quarters, the NZ team could not withstand a strong comeback from the Aussies, who included former NBA centre Chris Anstey and three-time Olympian Sam Mackinnon.

But it was the scoring of Andrew Walter and Andrew Parkinson that saw the Hasbeens home 80-75.

Jones paced the Kiwis with 20 points, while former Tall Blacks teammate Brendon Pongia contributed 17 points, including five three-pointers, and experienced NBL performer Arthur Trousdell chipped in with 15.

Walter and Parkinson had 19 each for the Aussies, while Anstey got 13.

"We got off to a pretty good start," reflected Jones afterwards. "But then they started throwing to Anstey in the post ... and we couldn't stop them."

Rack City are unbeaten after two in their men's 35+ category and go up against Auckland's Balboas today.

In women's play, the Ferns - a reunion of the 2004 Olympic Tall Ferns side - are unbeaten after three games in the 35+ group and face NZ Defence Force tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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