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Breakers confirm return of Mika Vukona

Published: 6:11PM Sunday April 11, 2010 Source: NZPA

The NZ Breakers have further underlined their championship aspirations next ANBL season with the signing of Tall Black and former Breaker Mika Vukona.

In a move that further moves the Breakers ahead of the game with regards finalising their roster for the new season, Vukona is the last of eight local players that will be signed, with just two import positions to be filled closer to the September start of the season.

Breakers Head Coach Andrej Lemanis is clearly delighted to have enticed Vukona to return to the club he last played for in 2007/08.

Im really pleased and excited that Mika has decided to be a Breaker again. He has taken his game to another level over the past two seasons and the thought of him wreaking havoc for us again puts a smile on my face. Mika is the perfect fit for the style of basketball we will play this upcoming season.

His ability to defend the length of the floor and multiple positions, his amazing ability to rebound the ball combined with his improved efficiency at the offensive end will be tremendous assets for the team. Im thrilled to have Mika back and I know he will again be a fan favourite how can you not love the way he plays?

Indeed aside from his obvious playing abilities, it is the popularity of the Fijian born forward that will further endear him and the club to local fans.

General Manager Richard Clarke says that is a bonus with the signing.

"Mika is not only a great player and as Andrej has said a great fit for the roster but he is a great personality. He plays with incredible passion and brings his own flair to games, as was seen when he played superbly in a losing Gold Coast effort against us late last season.

"The response we have had from sponsors and season ticket holders to this news has already been hugely supportive and we expect will help further promote game nights at the North Shore Events Centre.

"Bottom line though is we are bringing a player back to the club who has a passion and desire for success. The fact he is a Kiwi is an added bonus and further strengthens the Kiwi aspect to the Breakers roster."

While away with the South Dragons and the Gold Coast Blaze Vukona has shown his value to any team, helping the Dragons to the ANBL title in 2008/09 and the Blaze to the semi finals last season. He is currently playing for Nelson in the Bartercard National Basketball League.

Vukona is delighted to be coming home.

I really wanted to come home, for a number of reasons. I am looking forward to playing with the New Zealand boys, the likes of Tom, Kirk and Dillon. Ive had two great years with two good clubs and working with great coaches. I believe I am a better player now and can add something to this club.

I think I am a better player at the offensive end of the court, that is something I have been working on and defensively I am still learning and cant think of a better player to learn from than Dillon.

My goal though is to win a championship. Im sure any Kiwi player will tell you the same, I have that desire to win an Aussie championship for a Kiwi team - that is the goal.

The signing of Vukona effectively brings an end to the first stage of recruitment for the Breakers and with the season still some 4 months away, gives the club a head start on most other teams in the league.

All that remains is the addition of two imports to the roster and the confirmation of two development players, both of whom will be New Zealanders.