Without NBA legends, the U.S. loses to Cuba for the first time in history… Cuban president congratulates himself

USA falls to Cuba.

The United States men’s national basketball team lost 67-81 to Cuba on Saturday (Feb. 26) in Havana, Cuba, in a FIBA Americas Cup 2025 qualifier.

The America’s Cup pits the nations of the Americas against each other to see who is the best. The United States is the seven-time champion, with Jamil Warney (SK) named MVP of the 2017 tournament. 스포츠토토 Argentina won the most recent tournament in 2022.

The United States, which does not compete in the America’s Cup with its full roster, did not field any NBA players in the middle of the season for this qualifier. Instead, the roster was composed primarily of G-League players. The roster includes some familiar names to NBA fans, including Elfrid Payton, Stanley Johnson, and Jordan Bell.

The U.S. won the first game against Cuba, 100-79, on March 23 at Anbang. Led by JaMyers Ramsey’s 20 points, the team reached the 100-point plateau after an even scoring distribution that saw every member of the roster score.

However, the return match on the same day was a different story for Cuba. Unlike the first game, where only seven players could play due to visa issues, the Cubans fielded 11 players in the second game at home. The result was the exact opposite of the first game, as the Americans improved to 1-1 in qualifying.

The Americans were led by 17 points from Lyquan Gray and 14 points from JaMyers Ramsey, but fell short. Cuba was led by Pedro Bombino (19 points), a young center born in 2000 who plays in the Argentine league.

Cuba came out firing in the first quarter. Down 11-8, they went on a 15-2 scoring run to quickly open up a gap. The Americans closed the gap a bit in the second quarter, but the Cubans came out firing in the third.

Trailing by 20 points heading into the fourth quarter, the U.S. picked up its defense late, but the gap was too far gone. Cuba ultimately held on for a 14-point victory.

Although the U.S. didn’t field its best team, the win was significant in Cuban basketball history. Since the first meeting in 1971, the United States had never beaten Cuba before this game.

International basketball media also recognized the Cuban victory as a major upset. Cuban President Miguel D’Escarnel even came out to congratulate his country’s basketball team on their victory.

The game also saw the appearance of former KBL DB player Dionte Burton. Burton, who plays in the G League, was included in Team USA’s roster and played 19 minutes and 23 seconds in the game, recording seven points, two rebounds, and one assist.

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