Manchester Giants opened up their pre-season tournament in Spain with a 83-76 win over hosts Cantaires Tortosa.
Despite a short bench, the Giants opened up a 17 point lead in the second half before their EBA opponents rallied late on to add a bit of respect to the scoreline.
Jerelle Okoro top scored for the Giants with 18 points, while new American signing David Kadiri recorded a double-double, including 11 rebounds.
Cantaires, relegated from Lega Silver last season, boasted four Americans in their line-up and one of those, Corey Blau lit up the place on several occasions with his high percentage three point shooting.
The Giants started with Callum Jones, Sam Lane, Okoro, Kadiri and Richard Bell, and Lane opened the scoring with a three pointer off a Jones assist.
After a cagey opening, the tourists opened out to 10-2 though Cantaires fought their way back and it was only two three-pointers from Mark Rangeley that had the Giants 20-17 up at the end of the first quarter.
Numerous foul calls were harming the Giants in the second quarter, with the game a very stop-start affair. Bell ultimately ended up on four fouls inside the first half, meaning he sat down for the whole of the second period.
By half time, the Giants had opened up a seven point lead, thanks in part to nine points and five assists from captain Jones, who was one of several players sporting the Manchester bee as a tribute to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund that the club is supporting this year.
The game was sewn up in the third quarter as led by the all-round performance by Kadiri, the Giants opened up a double digit lead and by the end of the third, it was 63-49, with Rangeley landing five from nine three-point attempts.
The lead grew to 17 at one point but with the same five players playing the whole 20 minutes in the second half, tiredness crept in allowing the hosts to rally and reduce the deficit to just five points at one point.
But a late lay-up from Anastasios Traianos made sure of the win in the first of two games for both sides in the tournament.
Both take on the Europe Basketball Academy tomorrow (Sunday), with the Giants first up at 12noon.
Okoro – 18 points, 7 rebounds
Rangeley – 17 points
Kadiri – 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks
Traianos – 12 points, 7 rebounds
Jones – 11 points, 9 assists