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Tall Blacks ready for toughest challenge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/06/2016

Coach Paul Henare says the Tall Blacks will face their toughest challenge yet over the next few days with matches scheduled against Iran, Latvia and Lithuania.

The New Zealanders then travel to the Philippines for their all-important Olympic qualifying tournament beginning in Manila on July 6.

Henare says the Tall Blacks' last matches in Latvia and Lithuania will be testing.

"We still have our main focus as Manila, but through these next three games we have to grow and learn as a team," he said.

"We'll ask the guys to compete as hard as they can and also try and win these games."

The Tall Blacks are still recovering from a whirlwind week of matches at the Atlas Challenge in China where they finished third after beating the hosts 90-84.

Henare wants his team to be near their best as they tackle their last warm-up games.

"Iran are a very good side, they have genuine shooters and genuine bigs down low, and they play hard," he said.

"This will be a tough battle for us, it will be interesting to see how we manage the way they play the game. This will be a good test of how we deal with that physicality."

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