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Former teammates to square off as rival skippers in NBL final

During this weekend's NBL final, the two competing sides' captains will face off against each other after previously playing on the same team.

The Otago Nuggets' Jordan Ngatai and Tom Vodanovich of the Manawatu Jets square off having both formerly been on the books at the Breakers, the two sides taking the court in Auckland tomorrow night.

The NBL was one of the first sporting leagues to return post Covid-19, even picking up television deals as far abroad as with ESPN in the United States.

New Zealand's success hasn't gone unnoticed either.

"My colleagues in Geneva have sent their congratulations," says FIBA vice-president Burton Shipley.

"Because of the success of it, and the fact that we were able to get on and run, in New Zealand, an NBL competition, on such short notice."

Nuggets captain Ngatai was the first player selected in the tournament draft, a New Zealand sporting first, however he nearly missed out altogether, declaring at the last minute: "I didn't even know that I was going to play in this comp until 10 minutes before the deadline to be honest," Ngatai says.

He'll be up against his former teammate in Vodanovich, the league's MVP, with both players looking for clubs in the Australian NBL - assuming it goes ahead.

"Right now we don't know what's happening," says Ngatai.

"With a couple of players over there just getting tested positive for Covid, I think there are going to be more restrictions and maybe even push back the date a bit more. Who knows?"

The two sides have already met four times this season - the Nuggets winning all four.