Ayón’s Monster Game Helps Mexico To FIBA-Opening Win
New Atlanta Hawk Gustavo Ayón scored 22 points, pulled down 18 rebounds and handed out four assists, all game-highs, as Mexico opened the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship with a 65-56 win over host country Venezuela Friday.
Ayón also blocked four shots while playing 35 of a possible 40 minutes. Atlanta claimed the 6’10″ big man off waivers from Milwaukee last month. He will be entering his third NBA season.
Mexico jumped out to a nine-point first quarter lead, then kept the hosts at arm’s length with a 20-point fourth quarter.
Ayón and Mexico play again Sunday against Paraguay, who lost by 35 to Argentina Friday.
The 10-team Americas tournament features two groups of five teams each, all trying to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup next year in Spain. The top four teams from the Americas tournament get invited. The United States is already in because they won the 2012 Olympics, so they are not participating in the Americas tournament this year.
The FIBA World Cup takes place every four years and is the biggest international basketball tournament in the world.
New Hawk Pero Antić will lead Macedonia into the European qualifier, known as EuroBasket, next week. Six teams from that 24-team field will quality for Spain.
Photo by Isaac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images