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Henare positive despite Tall Blacks loss

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/06/2016

Coach Paul Henare is refusing to be disheartened by the Tall Blacks' 30-point mauling at the hands of world No.3 Lithuania in Klaipeda.

The New Zealanders were comprehensively outplayed to lose 88-58 in their final warm-up game before the Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila next month.

After trailing 28-12 at the end of the first quarter, the Tall Blacks cut back the deficit to eight points midway through the second.

But although the quarter was shared 21-21, Lithuania pulled away in the closing minutes to lead 49-33 at halftime.

After trailing 66-47 at the last break, the New Zealanders fell away in the final spell, outscored 22-11 by the home team.

Henare said despite the loss, he was encouraged by his team's performance.

"What I saw gives me heart for Manila, and I have no doubt that with the same intensity paired with clearer heads and our shots dropping, we can defeat the Philippines on July 6."

Swingman Tom Abercrombie said the Tall Blacks had fought right until the last whistle.

"The shots just weren't falling, but we stayed aggressive and while the calls didn't perhaps go our way as they might have, we never lost that aggressive mindset."

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