Image courtesy of FIBA Americas

The Cadet Men’s National Team (CMNT) opened the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men with a 76-63 victory over Puerto Rico. The first day of competition also saw Chile come away with a victory in Group B play.

Team Canada was led by Kitchener, Ont. native Jamal Murray, who scored a game-high 24 points and Gatineau, Quebec’s Malick Turenne who paired 14 points off-the-bench with a game-high six assists. Edward Ekiyor led the Canadians’ effort on the glass with 12 rebounds, while Justin Jackson collected 11 boards in the contest.

Both teams showed some nerves in the early-going as neither squad could settle into a steady offensive rhythm. After the opening ten minutes, the game was knotted at 13-points-a-piece. Head coach Dave DeAveiro found the right words to inspire his troops as they took control of the game with a 12-0 run to start the second. The CMNT continued its push while also displaying a solid defensive effort in holding Puerto Rico to 11 points in the frame. At halftime, Canada had built a solid 36-24 lead.

The third quarter saw even play from both squads as the teams traded chances and walked away with 22 points each. Canada entered the last 10 minutes of the game holding a 58-46 advantage before Puerto Rico used some solid work to cut into the lead. In the end, Canada was able to counter with tight defence and speed to hold off Team Puerto Rico’s attack. The Canadians finished the night with 12 steals and seven blocks.

Coach DeAveiro was “very pleased with the defensive effort. We beat a very good Puerto Rico team. Our kids played hard, but we still need to get better as the tournament continues. This was a very positive start to build on."

For complete game statistics, click here.

The CMNT continues its group play tomorrow at 4 p.m. (ET) when the team takes on Chile, who emerged from opening day with a 64-62 triumph over host-nation Uruguay. The game can be viewed online at