BOCAUE, Bulacan — Italy effectively defended against Angola, emerging with an 81-67 triumph in their FIBA World Cup opener at the Philippine Arena on Friday, August 25.

Despite being anticipated as the favored team to win, the Italians encountered difficulties in establishing a significant lead over the Angolans.

Italy even found themselves trailing by a margin of 2-9 during the initial quarter.

The Azurri made a resilient comeback and maintained control over the game, although Time Nacional managed to stay competitive as the match entered the fourth quarter with a score of 57-61.

In the final phase of the game, Italy finally found their momentum, limiting Angola to a mere 10 points while amassing 20 points themselves, ultimately securing victory in this Group A encounter.

Filipino band Ben and Ben performed at the Philippine Arena moments before Gilas Pilipinas face Dominican Republic.

Sarah Geronimo and The Dawn also made their performances in the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

As the Gilas Pilipinas-Dominican Republic match was starting to heat up, Filipino hoops fans were about to fill the capacity of the Philippine Arena that would break break the previous high of 32,616 fans set during the 1994 World Cup final between USA and Serbia in Toronto, Canada. (ai/mnm)