Italy gear up for San Juan OQT with friendlies against Georgia, Spain

    ROME (Italy) - First-rate opposition is the order of the day for Italy as they prepare to take aim at winning a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the second time in a row.

    ROME (Italy) - First-rate opposition is on the cards for Italy as they prepare to take aim at winning a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the second time in a row.

    The Azzurri, who took part in the Tokyo Games three summers ago after winning the Belgrade OQT, where they defeated hosts Serbia in the Final, are playing in the OQT (July 2-7) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    The Italians will take on Georgia in a friendly on June 23 in Trento's Quotidiano Arena before traveling to Madrid and facing Spain in a warm-up game on June 25 at the WiZink Center.

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    The Italians will begin their preparations with a training camp in Folgaria from June 14 to June 21 before facing Georgia, who are No. 23 in the FIBA World Ranking, Presented by NIKE.

    Italy edged Georgia in Tblisi, 85-84, in the European Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023

    Georgia took part in last summer's 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup and finished 16th.

    They have a new coach in veteran Serbian play-caller Aleksandar Dzikic, whose last club was Hapoel Jerusalem. Georgia, themselves, will be getting ready to play in the Riga OQT.

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    Spain, led by long-time coach Sergio Scariolo, are No. 2 in the Ranking and preparing to host the Valencia OQT.

    After winning the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, finishing sixth at the Tokyo Olympics and then winning FIBA EuroBasket 2022, Spain came in ninth at last year's World Cup.

    In the World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers, Italy (currently No. 13 in World Ranking) defeated Georgia twice and won one of two games against Spain.

    Italy will fly to Miami the day following the game in Madrid and after spending a some time in the Magic City, Gianmarco Pozzecco's team will take a short flight to San Juan on June 29.

    They are in Group B of the OQT with Bahrain and hosts Puerto Rico, while in Group A are Lithuania, Mexico and Côte d'Ivoire.

    Puerto Rico will be familiar foes for Italy. The Azzurri beat the Boricuas, 94-89, at the 2019 World Cup and at the Belgrade OQT, 90-83. This time, however, the Puerto Rico will have home-court advantage.


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