Maori Television are ready to broadcast the Harvey Norman NZ Breakers in the playoffs of Australia’s Hummer Championship NBL for the first time – and fans can catch their first quarter-final game live on Maori Television this Thursday February 21.
Coach Andrej Lemanis’ team has finished seventh after the 30-game regular season and will play in Cairns against the Taipans in an elimination encounter starting at 9.30 PM. A win in Cairns will result in another sudden death match this Saturday night against the third-placed Bullets, the reigning champions, in Brisbane.
The NZ Breakers remain confident of beating Cairns having won there already during this season. “It’s obviously pleasing to be there as opposed to not being, but for us it’s a case of the job not being done. We want to do well and have an impact on the playoffs, which is where we turn our attention to now,” says Lemanis.
Only Tony Ronaldson and Oscar Forman on the Breakers roster have NBL play-off experience – Ronaldson has been part of two championship-winning teams in the 1990s and Forman won with the Adelaide 36ers in 2002 – but that doesn’t reflect the side’s collective experience.
“Experience helps and Tony’s been invaluable all year,” says Lemanis. “Kirk Penney has played in big games all round the world as has Phill Jones and Derek Alston, so we have some experience of play-off basketball, just not in the Australian NBL. The one is Oscar Forman who won a championship with the Adelaide 36ers, but our guys are experienced and will go all right.”
Maori Television’s coverage of the NBL finals begin at 8.00 PM on Thursday February 21 with delayed coverage of the previous night’s game – the fifth-placed Townsville Crocodiles versus the eighth-placed Gold Coast Blaze at the Townsville Entertainment Centre. From 9.30 PM, the channel’s commentating team will cross live to the Cairns Convention Centre for the quarter-final elimination between the sixth-placed Cairns Taipans and the NZ Breakers.
To accommodate the playoffs, this programming may differ from the advertised schedule. The late night replay of Maori language news programme TE KAEA will screen – with English language subtitles – during the half-time break of the NZ Breakers’ game.
For more brilliant basketball action, tune into the NBL: HARVEY NORMAN NZ BREAKERS on Maori Television this Thursday February 21 from 8.00 PM.