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Eulis Baez (DOM), Mika Vukona and Thomas Abercrombie (NZL)
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Vukona: "Don't write us off just yet, we are the Tall Blacks"

BILBAO (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Defeats in their first two games have left New Zealand in an unenviable position in Group C. The Tall Blacks now not only need to win at least two of their remaining three games, but also hope that a lot of results in other games go in their favor.

Power forward Mika Vukona has however not lost heart or hope.

"It's in our culture not to give up," he said moments after the defeat to the Dominican Republic.

"It's a tournament, you never know what's going to happen. We're still positive although it's just disappointing at the same time to get two losses in a row like we have.

"The most disappointing for us has been that we are not able to do what are capable of doing and what we have planned to do.

"We are not sticking to our game plan long enough. We are playing in spurts. Obviously that's not good enough at this level. When you know you can do something and it doesn't turn out like that, that's the hardest problem to solve.

"People see what we can do, but we are not holding on enough to win games. In the pre-season tournament, (coming into Spain 2014), we were getting in there getting the confidence that we can play the sort of basketball we wanted to for 40 minutes. It didn't work out. That's the most disappointing thing," added the 32-year-old who last season shuttled between his home club Nelson Giants and Byblos in the Lebanese League.

He was also quick to point out that the Tall Blacks go beyond a normal basketball teams.

"We play with our hearts on our sleeves. Cliched as it may sound but that's how we play. That's how we function. It's happened in the past. I think it's going to be the future as well," Vukona explained.

"We have three more games. Well, the United States is going to be a big hurdle. But we have two more games we can do something (against Ukraine and Finland)."