CALI, COLOMBIA – The U.S. Men’s National Team was challenged from start to finish Sunday at the 2017 IWBF America’s Qualifier by Brazil. Team USA came out ahead, 47-44, to finish pool play with a 4-0 record and the No. 1 seed as Team USA prepares for quarterfinal games set for Monday, August 28.
Three-time U.S. Paralympian and two-time Paralympic medalist Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, led the defending Paralympic gold medalists on the day with a double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds). The United States trailed most of the game and was down after the first three quarters, 36-33.
Brazil’s Marcos Silva scored 23 points, the highest point scorer allowed by the United States in the America’s Qualifier. Brazil maintained its lead well into the fourth quarter, until Serio nailed a jump shot with 1:08 remaining to tie the game, 44-44, and sealed the win with a defensive rebound with 13 seconds left and went to the charity stripe making one free throw for the victory.
He was joined in scoring by 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, Indiana, who finished the day with 10 points.
Overall, Team USA shot 33 percent from the floor, and was out rebounded by Brazil, 44-42.
“This was a hard fought win for our guys,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri. “Brazil really showed true determination and challenged us the entire 40 minutes. Brazil is a very talented team, and this was a great atmosphere for our guys today. We have to continue working hard, especially as we are now into the quarterfinals.”
The U.S. Men were drawn into Group B and will have pool play competition against Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Group A Teams are: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
On August 28, the quarter finals are slated for a 1 p.m. central start and conclude later that evening. The two semi-final games are scheduled for August 29 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. central. The medal games are set for August 30 at 3 p.m. with the bronze-medal game, and will be followed with the gold-medal game at 5 p.m. central.
The United States is led by Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, who has coached three teams to gold medals at the Paralympics (2004 and 2008 women; 2016 men). He will be assisted by Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and Christian Burkett of Seattle, Washington. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, returns as the team manager, and Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, will be serving as the athletic trainer.
The America’s Qualifier is the first set of the four-year trek to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The U.S. Men must place in the top four to qualify for the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany in August. Following the worlds, the U.S. will play in the 2019 ParaPan American Games set for Lima, Peru.
IWBF America’s Qualifier
August 23-30, 2017
Results (USA Record 4-0)
USA def. Mexico, 79-34
USA def. Colombia, 85-36
USA def. Uruguay, 78-24
USA def. Brazil, 47-44
IWBF America’s Qualifier Medal Rounds
8/28 1 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 3 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 5 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 7 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/29 1 PM, Men’s semi-final
8/29 5 PM, Men’s semi-final
8/30 3 PM, Men’s Bronze-medal game
8/30 5 PM, Men’s Gold-medal game