The USA Men’s National Team secured a landmark win over Greece in their first appearance in the UAE last night.
Infront of a sold-out crowd and Etihad Arena, day two of the inaugural International Basketball Week, featured a double-header which saw Mexico emerge victorious over Lebanon in the evening’s earlier game.
In the first game of the night, Mexico triumphed 88 – 70 over Lebanon with Joshua Ibarra leading Mexico with a team-high 20 points. Lebanon and Mexico join Egypt, Germany, Greece and the US in International Basketball Week, a series of exhibition games ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which will take place in the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan from August 25 – Sep. 10.
Reflecting on the past week, Omar Quintero, Head Coach of the Mexico National Team, said: “It’s always good to finish before the World Cup winning to give us that confidence, we’ve got a tough group to compete with but we feel prepared.
“The fans and the public have showed us so much love since we arrived, it’s incredible that Abu Dhabi is promoting basketball here – the fans, the hospitality, and the arena are amazing.”
In the second game of the evening, Team USA sealed a 108-86 win over Greece. Competing for the first time in the region, Team USA took an early 32-17 first quarter lead and never looked back. The US were led by the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards who scored a game-high 21 points. Greece was led by Nikos Rogkavopoulos and Panagiotis Kalaitzakis with 12 points apiece.
The game saw fans revel in the entertainment and atmosphere on offer as they chanted “GO TEAM USA” throughout.
Center Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz) said: “It was a lot of fun, we’ve got incredible depth in our team so all 12 of us are unbelievably talented and we all play the right way. Greece is obviously very skilled, they’re very physical so I’d say playing them now before the pool play in the World Cup is advantageous.
“My experience in Abu Dhabi so far has been awesome, the people are so friendly, the hospitality and food is unbelievable.”
Both the USA Basketball Showcase and International Basketball Week highlight the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi’s commitment to reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a global sporting destination with a diverse calendar of entertainment that appeals to a mass audience.
The result of a multi-year partnership between the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi and the National Basketball Association (NBA), last year saw the inaugural NBA Abu Dhabi Games which will return later this year when the Dallas Mavericks take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 5 and 7 as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 Presented by ADQ. Both initiatives underpin the Emirate’s sports and entertainment strategy, and directly align with the capital’s international stance as an events innovator.
Tonight sees Germany take on Greece with Team USA in action again, this time against Germany, on Sunday night. The USA vs. Germany game will be broadcast live in the region on Starzplay.
Team USA features NBA All-Stars Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks), and Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), 2022-23 Defensive Player of the Year Jarren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies) and 2022-23 Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic) under the watchful eye of Head Coach Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors). Germany features brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner (Orlando Magic), Dennis Schröder (Toronto Raptors) and Daneil Theis (Indiana Pacers).