On Saturday night, the Suns returned to the United States… well, for an hour, anyway.
Phoenix joined the 76ers as guests at a welcome reception in their honor at the U.S. Consulate General’s residence in Monterrey, where they mingled with host and Consul General Bruce Williamson, NBA representatives and sponsors and local government officials.
“I’ve never partied at a U.S. Consulate before,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “(The Consul General) is a neat guy who loves basketball and has ties in Philadelphia and Arizona. It’ll be interesting to see who he’s cheering for in the exhibition.”
As for fraternizing with Sunday’s opponent, thankfully there were no long stares across the room or backs turned from either team. Of course, that may change come tip-off in the exhibition game.
“To mingle with a team when you aren’t thinking about competition,” Gentry added, “that makes for a really good atmosphere. We talk about how the trip is going and get to meet some of the great sponsors we have here in the NBA.”
While Saturday’s festivities were closed to the public, local NBA fans will have their chance to celebrate Sunday when the two teams face off for the final time this preseason at the Arena Monterrey.
“The Mexican fans are so passionate when it comes to their sports,” the head coach said, “to be able to play in an arena where they realize this will be the only NBA game they’ll have this year, you’ll see a real energy in that building.”
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