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Vukona honoured by Breakers milestone

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/10/2016 Angelo Risso

Every sportsman wants to play forever, even if they know it's impossible.

That's why Breakers skipper Mika Vukona is so honoured to notch up his 300th appearance for the club when they take on the Sydney Kings on Thursday.

Vukona, 34, will be the first man to make a triple-century of appearances for the Australian NBL club after joining as a development player in the club's inaugural 2003/04 season.

Since then, he has gone on to nab more than 2200 points and four ANBL championships as the Breakers asserted themselves as the competition's premier side.

Yet the power forward, who also captains the Tall Blacks, said he would treat Thursday's encounter with the Andrew Gaze-led Kings like any other.

"It's just another game that's come around really quick," Vukona told NZ Newswire.

"I'm pretty honoured, blessed, and it's a testament to this club that you can be in a position to stay here and play for as long as I have."

Head coach Paul Henare, who also coaches Vukona on the international stage, said the Fiji-born veteran had more than earned his place at the heart of the club.

He didn't expect his typically reserved skipper to make too much of the occasion.

"He's front and centre in everything we do as a club and as a team, so I can't speak highly enough of the guy," Henare said.

"He'll just go out there like he does every day and try and get the win."

Gun shooting guard Corey Webster echoed his coach's remarks, saying his teammate for club and country was a genuine leader.

He led by example, as opposed to words, and held others accountable.

"The way he carries himself, how hard he plays and the intensity he brings, everyone looks up to that," Webster said.

"When concentration slips or standards aren't met, he is the first to step in and put things right."

The Breakers will take on a Kings outfit boosted by the appointment of ANBL legend Gaze and acquisitions of reigning MVP Kevin Lisch and former NBA champion Josh Powell.

The side has won two from three games so far this season, including an impressive four-point win over Illawarra and 14-point win over Cairns.

Vukona expected a hard and physical encounter in Auckland after his side's two-point loss to distant foes Perth.


* 299 appearances

* 171 wins

* 2034 rebounds

* 2239 points

* 550 assists

* Four ANBL championships

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