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Pinoy Box Break

Italy Secures Hard-Fought Victory Against Angola in FIBA World Cup Opener

by | Posted on: August 26th, 2023 | No Comments | Sports

In a fiercely contested Group A curtain raiser at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, Italy battled their way to a gritty 81-67 triumph over Angola. Despite the challenges posed by their opponents, Italy’s determination and strategic gameplay proved pivotal in clinching the victory, marking a promising start to their World Cup campaign.

Italy’s history against Angola in the World Cup has been favorable, with a 3-0 record, but this match unveiled a spirited Angolan side that demonstrated significant progress in their generation change. The atmosphere at the Philippine Arena was electric, with 21,214 fans bearing witness to a hard-fought battle.

Throughout the game, Italy and Angola engaged in a back-and-forth struggle, showcasing the intensity of the competition. The contest remained tight for the first three quarters, with neither team willing to relent. However, Italy’s tough defense at the beginning of the final frame enabled them to seize control of the game, establishing an eight-point lead at 65-57. Despite Angola’s efforts, they were unable to close the gap to less than five points for the remainder of the match.

Simone Fontecchio emerged as a key player for Italy, consistently performing at a high level. While Italy faced challenges in long-range shooting, Fontecchio’s contributions were invaluable, accumulating 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Italy’s overall shooting from beyond the arc was a mere 16 percent (6-of-31), but their effectiveness in two-point attempts at 69 percent propelled them forward. Additionally, Italy’s defensive prowess limited Angola to a mere 14 percent (4-of-29) in their three-point attempts.

Despite the testing nature of the match, Italy’s coach Gianmarco Pozzecco praised his team’s resilience and expressed regret for his initial negativity. He stated, “I apologized to my players… But they are amazing. They did what they had to do.”

Italy’s forward Nicolo Melli echoed a sense of relief, acknowledging the tension of the opening game. He highlighted the team’s unity in the face of adversity, stating, “We were up nine and they came back and we went down. It was good that we stuck together.”

Reflecting on the challenges faced, Italy guard Marco Spissu underlined the competitive nature of their group. He remarked, “A win is a win. It’s a difficult group. Everybody can beat everybody.”

On the Angolan side, coach Pep Claros emphasized the importance of character and determination in every aspect of the game. He expressed a desire for his team to learn from their experiences, stating, “Part of offense and defense is character… the only way to win is to give more. To play harder and to never give up.”

In the end, Italy’s resilience and strategic adjustments proved decisive as they emerged victorious against Angola. The final scoreline of 81-67 reflected Italy’s ability to rise to the occasion, setting a positive tone for their upcoming matches in the FIBA World Cup.