Photo: Peter Baba

A standout at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Karl-Anthony Towns shone on opening day, guiding the Dominican Republic to an 87-81 triumph over hosts Philippines at a full Philippine Arena.

The Minnesota Timberwolves star impressed with 26 points and 10 rebounds before a record crowd of 38,115, even amazing NBA peers.

“It’s amazing. I’ve never been here before,” Towns said. “I had been telling everyone how eager I was to come out here. I’m super excited to be here; the fans were absolutely incredible to us.

“One of my best friends is heavily involved in Filipino culture. I’m incredibly proud to be Dominican, to be here with a win, and also to connect with all the fans here in the Philippines.”