Milwaukee Bucks: Greece and Turkey set for Suzhou International Challenge

SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 22: (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 22: (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks’ trio from Greece and Turkey are set to compete in a pre-World Cup exhibition event in China over the next few days.

With USA Basketball currently finalizing their World Cup plans down under on a mini-tour in Australia, the Milwaukee Bucks’ other World Cup representatives have taken a more direct route in their own preparations.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Ersan Ilyasova have all touched down in China in the past two days, with the Antetokounmbros and the Greek squad arriving in Shanghai on Thursday, and Ilyasova and the Turkish national team having arrived there on Wednesday.

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Of course, the two teams recently went head-to-head in the Acropolis tournament in Athens, where Serbia prevailed as the ultimate winners but Greece at least claimed the bragging rights over Turkey.

Now that both teams are on the ground in China, though, there could yet be another opportunity for Turkey to avenge that loss.

Greece and Turkey are among eight World Cup bound teams set to compete in a warm-up event in Suzhou, a city just 60 miles away from Shanghai, which will run from Friday through to Tuesday.

Along with Greece and Turkey, China, Senegal, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Jordan will all participate in the Suzhou International Basketball Challenge, which should make for an excellent final tune-up for all involved.

The event is designed to be single round elimination, with a consolation round in place to ensure every team gets at least two games.

Ilyasova and Turkey’s first action gets underway on Friday with a clash against Puerto Rico at 6am central time. For Puerto Rico, this game will act as part of their preparation for Group C at the World Cup, where they’ll face Spain, Iran and Tunisia.

The wait for Giannis and Thanasis to hit the court again will go on just a little bit longer, as their first matchup is scheduled for Saturday at 7am central time against Jordan. Heading into the World Cup, Jordan finds itself in Group G, pitted head-to-head with Germany, France and Dominican Republic.

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Much like the Acropolis tournament last week, the good news for Bucks fans looking to check out the team’s players on international duty is the game’s will be streamed live on FIBA’s YouTube channel throughout the duration of the Suzhou International Basketball Challenge.