MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – The U.S. Men’s National Team played their second game of an International Friendly Competition against Mexico Thursday. The four-game event is being hosted at the Mexico Olympic Committee in Mexico City, Mexico. Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, Indiana, collectively scored 43 points for the 69-44 win. Both Williams and Arambula, members of the 2016 gold-medal team, are looking towards their second appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
2016 co-captains Steve Serio, of Westbury, New York, and Mike Paye of Warren, Michigan, also scored big tonight. Three-time Paralympian Serio finished the night with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Paye scored 8 points and 4 rebounds. For the second consecutive night, Team USA greatly out rebounded Mexico, 43-28.
Team Mexico’s top scorers of the night were Efrain Martinez and Eduardo Piieto, who snagged 6 and 7 rebounds, respectively. Martinez was the top scorer for Mexico with 13 points, while Piieto scored 9 total points tonight.
Team USA will play Team Mexico two more nights, prior to its departure to Cali, Columbia, for the 2017 IWBF America’s Qualifier, set for August 23-30. The United States must finish in the top four in order to qualify for the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
Team USA is led by Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri. Lykins has coached three U.S. Teams to gold medals at the Paralympics. He is assisted by Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama; and Christian Burkett of Seattle, Washington. Returning as the team manager is Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri. Rounding out the team is Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, who is serving as the athletic trainer.
The journey to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has officially begun. Make sure to check back the NWBA website frequently to keep up with the progress of Team USA. There will be updates regarding Team USA’s success in Mexico City as well as game updates of their progress in the 2017 America’s Cup Qualifier, beginning August 23.