Just as the Taipans head to Melbourne and Cairns thought it was taking a break from basketball, an exciting announcement has come through for next weekend.
The Snag Pit will host a FIBA match next Saturday, 20 February, with Australian Boomers set to battle the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
The Trans-Tasman rivals will play to qualify in the international league’s 2021 Asia Cup, scheduled for August.
The qualification to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup will secure either side a place in the qualifying phase for the 2023 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup.
The Boomers are the defending Asia Cup champions, though the Tall Blacks got the better of the Aussie side by ten points in their last clash – so it’s anyone’s game next week.
The late announcement comes as FIBA had to reschedule the location of its qualifying stage from the Philippines.
Next week’s match will be New Zealand’s Group C home game against Australia.
Due to Australia and the NBL’s quarantine protocols, the qualifier will only include athletes who are currently based in Australia or attached to leagues outside of the NBL.
Upon announcing the game at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena, Basketball Australia Executive General Manager, Paul Maley, said the league’s delighted to be bringing the qualifier game to Far North Queensland.
“Irrespective of the sport and the talent on display, there is always something special about a contest featuring Australia and New Zealand, which fans attending the game on February 20 will experience first-hand,” he said.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was an “incredible coup” and a "welcome and necessary boost” for the city.
“These are the events that the state government must continue to work hard to secure for our city, and we welcome the opportunity to host this qualifier against our Trans-Tasman neighbours,” he said.
Tickets will go on sale 12pm Friday, 12 February, from taipans.com