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Team USA: Eyes on the prize

Amid the hoopla and worldwide attention commanded by the USA men's basketball, young shooter Austin Reaves said their eyes remain at the prize.

USA’s Paolo Banchero slams in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals against Lithuania at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, September 5, 2023. PHOTO BY RIO DELUVIO

In fact, even when the US squad, composed of up and coming NBA stars, suffered a shocking 110-104 defeat at the hands of the hot-shooting Lithuania on Sunday, the Americans remained confident as they try to get the job done of winning the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Reaves has the result to back that up as Team USA smothered Italy, 100-63 in their knockout quarterfinal duel to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday night.

The young Los Angeles Lakers gunner contributed 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, while making two of his three attempts from the three-point arc in the Americans 37-point humiliation of the Azzurri.

“It was very important (to start strong). That was our plan from the get-go, to have a lot of energy, a lot of effort and you know, really go — like you said — make a statement,” Reaves said.

“You know, put our best foot forward. We still have two more to win and the common goal hasn't changed.”

The American guard, who has emerged as a fan favorite in the World Cup, said the loss to Lithuania reminded them that there's always some aspects of their game they need to improve.

“There's always points of improvement but this is obviously a good step in the right direction,” said Reaves, who is averaging 11 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals, while shooting 50 percent from three-point zone in the world basketball showpiece.

Having placed seventh in the 2019 edition in Foshan, China, Reaves insists their eyes are totally focused on the goal.

“Obviously, we got two more to win. You know, it's gonna be a tough game whichever opponent we draw the next round. But today was a good start,” he added.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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