25 August, 2023
10 September
2 Gael Bonilla (MEX)
Game Report
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Mexico hold off stubborn New Zealand for first win

MANILA (Philippines) - Mexico have finally got on the board at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, defeating New Zealand 108-100 less than 24 hours after the Tall Blacks were handed a knock-out blow by Greece in the First Round.

This was Mexico's third 100+ point game in FIBA Basketball World Cup history. The first two came in 1974, scoring 106 against the Central African Republic and 101 against the Philippines.

Both teams are now 1-3 in the Classification Games 17-32 Group N.

Turning point:
Mexico stormed to a double digit lead early on, but Finn Delany and Shea Ili fueled a comeback that brought them back to -6 with five minutes to play.

Paul Stoll knocked down a big three-pointer to stop that run, make it a +9 lead and secure a less dramatic finish for coach Omar Quintero and his squad.

TCL Player of the Game:
Pako Cruz has had a rock solid tournament, it just flew under the radar because Mexico were losing. He had 27 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals to lead Mexico to their first win in Manila.

Honorable mention goes to Fabian Jaimes, 17 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists on the day for the power forward.

Stats don't lie:
Mexico finally had a good shooting day, knocking down 14-of-25 from beyond the arc.

Bottom line:
Both teams remain in the hunt for a place among the teams to reach one of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments next summer. Mexico will try to get to 2-3 with a game against Jordan on Saturday.

New Zealand did not have any luck, but their guards were impressive once again. Shea Ili had an 18-point, 10-assist double-double, Reuben Te Rangi finished with 32 points after knocking down three crazy three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the game. They play Egypt next, after getting a day off on Friday.

They said: