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Phillipina Kyei makes her debut as Canada bounces Belgium 65-53 to open GloblJam

TORONTO – Phillipina Kyei has placed on a Canadian shirt for quite a few nationwide staff practices the previous few years, however the match by no means felt fairly so proper because it did Tuesday night time.

Only a day after Kyei grew to become a Canadian citizen, the six-foot-eight centre from Ghana made her nationwide staff debut, beginning for Canada’s under-23 ladies’s staff in a 65-53 victory over Belgium on the inaugural GloblJam match.

“Undoubtedly (the jersey felt totally different),” Kyei stated with a large smile. “The one motive stopping me from making the staff was my citizenship. I simply received that yesterday, performed a sport as we speak. So, two (items of) excellent news.”

Aaliyah Edwards led Canada with 22 factors and 10 rebounds, whereas Shayeann Day-Wilson had 18 and Shaina Pellington chipped in with 13.

You are reading: Phillipina Kyei makes her debut as Canada bounces Belgium 65-53 to open GloblJam

The 18-year-old Kyei had 4 rebounds and an help in her 10 minutes of motion.

Kyei — which is pronounced Chay — and her household moved from Ghana to Canada about four-and-a-half years in the past, settling in Calgary. She’d liked enjoying soccer and operating as a child, however her peak caught the eye of the highschool basketball coach and so she went out for her Grade 9 staff.

“I didn’t know something about basketball. It began off not so nice, I struggled so much. The principles have been a lot for me,” she stated.

Former Mount Royal College coach Nathan McKibbon was serving to Canada Basketball determine expertise in Alberta and noticed Kyei. She was invited to the primary of a number of nationwide staff camps.

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“That’s the place we realized, wow, we’ve received to put money into her,” stated Denise Dignard, Canada Basketball’s ladies’s excessive efficiency director.

Dignard doesn’t consider Canada has ever had a six-foot-eight ladies’s participant. She additionally strikes with exceptional athleticism and fluidity for her dimension.

Canada's Shaina Pellington, 1, moves the ball up court as Belgium's Maxuella Lisowa-Mbaka defends during in Toronto on Tuesday July 5, 2022.

Kyei, whose teammates name her “Philly,” grew to become a Canadian citizen through Zoom on Monday, seated in entrance of a laptop computer within the staff lodge ballroom, a Canadian flag draped round her shoulders. She needed to recite the Oath of Canadian Citizenship, and sing “O Canada.” Her coaches sang alongside.

“They have been there to assist me in case I tousled,” Kyei stated with fun.

Her teammates and coaches introduced her with balloons and flowers, and after dwelling in limbo with out a nationwide staff to play for, she stated the normal staff jersey ceremonial handout was particular.

“I keep in mind crying once I couldn’t make the staff (due to her citizenship standing),” she stated. “I used to be actually unhappy. I used to look at the sport, they’d submit tales about it. I used to be like, wow, I want that was me.

“This 12 months, lastly, after all of the years I’ve been enjoying … I received my citizenship. And I made the staff.”

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Kyei is one 12 months into her faculty profession on the College of Oregon — she’s the tallest feminine participant in Geese historical past. She averaged 3.7 factors and three.3 rebounds in 8.6 minutes off the bench, taking pictures 51.9 per cent from the sector and blocking 15 photographs.

Canada, in the meantime, trailed Belgium 20-13 after the primary quarter at Mattamy Athletic Centre, however took a 32-29 benefit into halftime. The Canadians led 48-44 with one quarter left.

The lads’s staff tipped off their match in opposition to Brazil in Tuesday’s late sport.

The brand new FIBA-sanctioned match is meant to assist bridge the hole between worldwide U19 motion and the senior packages.

The ladies will even play the U.S. and France, whereas the boys play the U.S. and Italy. All groups play in Saturday’s semifinals. The medal video games are scheduled for Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed July 5, 2022.

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