The Mexican men’s national basketball team will take on the Islamic Republic of Iran on Tuesday. Mexico will look to start their campaign with a bang, while Iran will try to bounce back from a humiliating debut.
It will be Mexico’s first game in the Turin leg of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. On the other hand, Iran looks to bounce back from a demoralizing 78-53 defeat at the hands of the mighty Greeks.
No Gustavo Ayon, No Problem for Mexico?
Mexico will have to deal with 7-foot-2 Iranian behemoth Hamed Haddadi without the services of its prized center Gustavo Ayon. The 2013 FIBA Americas Championship MVP announced his withdrawal from the team just three days before the start of the 2016 FIBA OQT in Turin.
Ayon took to Twitter to explain why he decided to pull out from the tournament. He said his reasons were purely “personal and professional ones.”
“I want to make it very clear there are no external reasons,” Ayon stressed. “I know that my teammates, who I have already informed of my decision, are totally capable of fighting until the last minute to achieve a place at the Olympic Games.”
Mexico’s head coach Sergio Valdeolmillos will rely on Avtodor Saratov point guard Paul Stoll and Charlotte Hornets combo guard Jorge Gutierrez to carry the team on offense. Francisco Cruz and Hector Hernandez will start at forward sports, while versatile big man Lorenzo Mata will fill the starting center position in lieu of Ayon.
On the Iranian side, the 31-year-old Haddadi will be supported by future national team mainstays Behnam Yakhchali (20), Sajjad Mashayekhi (22), Sedighi Amir (22) and Arman Zangeneh (23). Similar to Angola, Iran wants to develop its young nucleus now as opposed to later.
Mexico vs Iran 2016 FIBA OQT Live Stream and Highlights
The match between Mexico and Iran in the 2016 FIBA OQT will start at 12 p.m. ET. The game will be available through online live stream at Live Basketball TV, while highlights will be posted on FIBA’s YouTube channel.
Iran, Mexico and Greece are in Group A of the Turin OQT while Group B is composed of Italy, Croatia and Tunisia. Two from each team will advance to the semi-final around and only one team from the 2016 FIBA OQT Italy will make it to the 2016 Rio Olympics.