Jan Henare misses the first call on her cellphone amid all the din but the second time around, minutes later, she picks up the vibration and answers.
The cacophony of clinking silverware and wine flutes in the backdrop of belching espresso coffee machines suggests the gregarious mother of professional basketballer Paul Henare is primed for lunch at a trendy cafe in Takapuna Beach, on the outskirts of North Shore, in Auckland, where a friend spots TV One weatherman Jim Hickey.
"I couldn't even hear the phone go properly the first time it rang," she says apologetically but that fails to disguise the air of expectation in her voice, only a day after the New Zealand Breakers' historic game one victory over the Cairns Taipans in the Australian National Basketball League finals.
For someone adept at rustling hearty roasts, Jan Henare is far from her comfort zone in Napier, where she lives and teaches at Porritt School in Tamatea.
"I gave up doing roasts when my boys [Jamie, Paul and Mikey] left home but my Sunday roasts are still legendary," she says, something those who have been fortunate enough to indulge in will unequivocally attest to.
Tomorrow will be a Sunday geographically off the axis of normalcy for the 60-year-old grandmother, but that is not to say she will lose the frequency required to whet her insatiable appetite for basketball.
Come 6pm, the TV news will give way to a Sky Sports channel for the live coverage of game two of the ANBL finals between favourites Breakers and wounded Taipans, who were humiliated 85-67 at the North Shore Events Centre on Wednesday night.
Jan will be glued to the box at the home of her father, Don Campbell, at Snells Beach, Warkworth, north of Auckland.
"My dad's one of Paulie's biggest fans," she says. "He's very vocal and there'll be some strong opinions on what's going on in the game."
The demands of her job and the cost associated with travelling and accommodation mean the sea of orange at the Cairns Convention Centre won't drown Jan when the much-anticipated confetti rains down from the ceiling to acknowledge the Breakers as the first code to break the shackles of Australian domination in their own professional competitions.
That is the foregone conclusion, of course.
If everything follows the New Zealand script, the Kiwi franchise will become the first professional team to infiltrate a domain the Aussies have jealously guarded in any major code - basketball, rugby league, football or netball.
"I wanted to be in Auckland to greet the boys when they return from Cairns," Jan says, relishing the timing of the best-of-three finals, which coincide with the school holidays.
Paul Henare has been the catalyst for the Breakers' campaign to clinch the 2010-11 bragging for the first time.
The Hawke's Bay-born player is in his swansong ANBL season before he assumes the mantle of rookie HBS Bank Hawks coach in the National Basketball League (NBL) campaign that tipped off last week.
Paul, who will also play if the need arises, is adamant premiership champions Breakers - complacency aside - have no intentions of prolonging the finals to a fairytale ending in Auckland next Friday, despite expecting resistance from the reptiles who will feed off the energy of their vociferous supporters.
The only remaining Breakers foundation member who is still playing, the 32-year-old veteran guard's loyalty eclipses others as the only member who didn't ply his trade for another ANBL franchise.
It's exciting times not just for us but the whole country," Jan says, adding her it was also a testimony to her son's dedication to the national franchise as well as a sport the former Tall Black devoted his entire life to.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster ride for me that goes back to Paulie in North Shore when they played the last home game of the season in his honour," she explains, after work commitments meant she was unable to travel to that game on March 30.
Instead, she and two Bay stalwarts - former Tall Fern captain Di Robertson and Wendy Timu - had dinner and wine at Jan's home and toasted that Wednesday night to Paul's achievements and what he means to the North Shore basketball community.
"In the following game [against the Tigers] the Breakers shouted my and Paul's partner [Lisa Wilson] to a trip to watch them play in Melbourne, all expenses paid," Jan says, beaming with pride.
Before the tip-off the Breakers management and players invited her into the locker room where they paid tribute to Paul.
"It was very special and what the players said brought tears to my eyes because they spoke about him not only as a player but also what he's brought as a human being to the Breakers family - that's what they call themselves - and the basketball community," Jan reveals.
Paul and partner Wilson, who have a daughter, Kaia, 2, are based in Auckland where Paul helps conduct programmes for youth with the blessing of the franchise.
Paul has two other children, Madison, 9, and Jackson, 8, from ex-wife Jacinta Burt, who now all live in Gisborne.
As a 13-year-old, Paul had told Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Paul Trass he was going to go to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which he duly accomplished.
The vertically challenged teenager had the drive and determination to set goals amid enormous sacrifice.
It was former Tall Blacks and Auckland Stars coach Tab Baldwin who helped consolidate further what Jan says is "tunnel vision".
"He had a lifestyle where he partied a lot but he knew the divide between staying focused on his goals and playing social basketball."
Like many youngsters in New Zealand, the lure to pull on an All Black jersey was ever present in his childhood.
"He was destined to be a rugby player because his father [Ben] loved rugby and came from a staunch playing background.
"Of course, Paulie is not an All Black, he's a Tall Black," his mother says.
When Baldwin lured an 18-year-old Paul to the Big Smoke, it wasn't easy for the former Napier Boys' High School pupil to sever links with his family and friends to build a rapport in a metropolitan environment.
"He was suddenly a small fry in the block, but Tab had an incredible belief and had a huge impact on Paulie's life," Jan says.
That he wasn't the tallest timber - Jan swears he hasn't shot up a centimetre of his 182cm stature since his last growth spurt at the age of 14 - made his NBA dream even more elusive but what the teenager lacked in height he compensated for with a big ticker by embracing Baldwin's mantra.
But further trials and tribulations followed when Baldwin encouraged him to take up a scholarship to play at a junior college in Utah, in the US.
"He was very young then and it was extremely difficult because we had a small amount of money to send him there, although he did have a scholarship," she says of Paul who took up the game in the footsteps of bigger brother Jamie at NBHS.
"He accepted it as a path to his road to success, did it for one year then came back home and got married and didn't go back."
Jan doesn't regret for a second her input, although she had the handicap of shouldering responsibilities as a single mother.
Despite Paul's rise to to the giddy heights, Jan still rates NBHS winning the national secondary schools' title as one of her "most amazing experiences".
"As a single mum I would go along and prepare food. We had fundraising, sausage sizzles and discos especially when they started competing at a higher level," Jan says of his national age-group representative commitments.
"It was a challenge but it was all worth it."
Her drive with Robertson to Auckland to watch Paul play game one of the semifinals epitomises that steely resolve. The pair drove back the same night and Jan was back in the classroom the next morning.