Abercrombie calling for better Tall Blacks effort

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2014
Thomas Abercrombie
Photosport
RALLYING CALL: Tall Black small forward Thomas Abercrombie.

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Thomas Abercrombie wasn't surprised by South Korea's comeback victory in Mount Maunganui on Thursday night.

Now he wants a similar improvement from the Tall Blacks in the series-decider at the North Shore Events Centre tonight.

The New Zealand men's side went down 76-75 in game two, just two days after hammering the visitors 102-69 in the opener in Wellington.

"We knew they were going to come out with a better mindset and play a lot better this game than they did the first one," said the Tall Blacks and NZ Breakers small forward.

"They execute their stuff really well and they're incredibly quick in the way they run their offence. In that respect, it's a great test for us trying to work through that, chase them off screens - it's good preparation for us and that was a much better reflection of the team they are.

"We now need to come out and try and win this series on Saturday."

Abercrombie said the South Koreans applied a lot more effective defensive pressure in game two.

"They get right up-and-in, full court, and I think that caused us a few problems with our execution.

"We turned the ball over 10 or 11 times in the first half, and I think that was about our total in the first game. They pressured us into mistakes and disrupted our offence and we probably didn't do a very good job of coming up with some counters to that."

That means the hosts need to take care of the ball a lot better tonight, while work was also required defensively as coach Nenad Vucinic continues to use his full squad as part of the buildup to next month's World Cup in Spain.

"We tried a few different things defensively to see what would work against their movement on offence and I guess we'll go back and look at the tape and see what was effective and what wasn't," Abercrombie said.

"They certainly do a good job of moving you round and finding the open guy and they shot the ball a lot better than they did in the first game - we knew they were going to do that.

"We expect them to play the same way on Saturday, so we must be better."

Abercrombie said the series has been ideal preparation ahead of further warm-up matches overseas against the likes of Slovenia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Serbia, Lithuania and Greece.

"We play a team like this which is certainly going to get us fit, but we've got plenty of games, which is exactly what we need.

"There's a few of us here that haven't had too much game action for a while, and we've got plenty of build-up games now against top quality opposition."

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- Waikato Times

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