By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
MANILA, Philippines – New Zealand started the game leading 14-4 over the USA. However, the final score settled at 99-72 in favor of the initial favorites to win, not just this contest but the 2023 FIBA World Cup in general. Team USA took over and never looked back on Saturday.
Paolo Banchero was the top scorer for the winning side with 21 points behind 8/10 field goals. Anthony Edwards added 14 points and pulled down a game-high seven rebounds. Austin Reaves – who proved to be the fan favorite of Manila fans – and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 points each.
Contrary to other occasions in international basketball competitions, the US felt right at home with the Filipino crowd cheering them at every opportunity.
Still, it was a relatively close game until the end of the first half with the USA leading by nine (45-36). However, as this inexperienced unit in the FIBA tournaments got over the anxiety of the premier, things were totally simple for them.
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They pushed the lead to 18 points (76-58) at the end of the third period and the game was over, getting a solid 20-point advantage (82-62) after a thunderous dunk from Jackson Junior.
Reuben Te Rangi with 15 points was the top scorer of the losing side, which will fight against Greece and Jordan for a spot in the second round.
Shifting to Gameday 2 of Group C, the team coached by Steve Kerr will meet up with Greece and New Zealand will take on Jordan. Both games are set to be held in the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL