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Team USA blows out Puerto Rico to kickoff FIBA World Cup prep

Paolo Banchero scores on a dunk. Getty Images
By Mon Anthony L. Valmoria

MANILA --- The wait is finally over for Team USA's much-anticipated first-look performance after blowing out Puerto Rico, 117-76, in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the USA Basketball Showcase.

The Americans are coming into the FIBA World Cup as contenders but not as heavy favorites after a disappointing 7th-place finish in the tournament's last iteration in 2019.

Now being paraded by young NBA stars, the US hopes to secure and bring the gold back home to their side.

And if there was any indication that the Americans are locked and loaded, Puerto Rico was unfortunately on the other side of a familiar Team USA blowout win.

The guys donning white, red, and blue zoomed out to a game-changing 27-4 run midway to the third to put the game out of reach for the Puerto Ricans. 

It was a balanced effort for the Americans led by Anthony Edwards who had 15 points, four steals, and four assists. Cam Johnson also had 15 points of his own while Mikal Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 14 and 12 respectively.

Overall, seven players had double digits with Jalen Brunson, Brandon Ingram, and Bobby Portis each adding 11 points. The 6'3 Brunson surprisingly led Team USA in rebounding by hauling in a game-high 12 boards while Tyrese Haliburton backed him up in his PG duties by dishing 12 assists off the bench.

Team USA showed early signs of adjusting in the international game after struggling in the first half with less spacing. However, they would turn things around in the second half by getting up and running to activate their transition game.

Up next for Team USA's FIBA World Cup prep is Luka Doncic and Slovenia on Saturday (Sunday, PH time) and Spain on Sunday (Monday, PH time) in Malaga, Spain. 

Team USA is grouped alongside New Zealand, Jordan, and Greece in Group C in the FIBA World Cup 2023 to be played later this month here in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Follow him on X: @_Morval

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