Italy faced a setback as the Dominican Republic surged ahead to claim the top spot in Group A of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

Despite Italy’s efforts, the Dominican Republic overcame a slow start to secure an 87-82 victory, powered by an impressive 16 three-pointers.

The Dominican Republic took the lead of 46-44 early in the third quarter and further extended it with a 16-4 run, establishing a 62-48 lead. They maintained control, leading by as much as 17 points until the final minutes.

Italy managed to narrow the margin to just 3 points with 17 seconds left, but Lestor Quinones’ two successful free throws sealed the Dominican Republic’s win.

“We started the game well and we were controlling it,” Luigi Datome said. “They started creating good shots and were good enough to make a lot of them. Vice versa, we created good shots but could not make them. Our percentages were not very good for us.

“For a team like us, if you don’t shoot well from three you have to be almost perfect in all the other aspects of the game. We were close, because we controlled the boards and shot well from two and not too many turnovers. Congrats to them. For us, nothing. Be ready for the next one. Of course it will be very important.”

Watch the game highlights between Italy and the Dominican Republic in the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: