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MANILA, Philippines – A new champion will be crowned in the FIBA World Cup.
Canada booted out defending titlist Spain following a nail-biting 88-85 come-from-behind win in Group L in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday, September 3, to complete the eight-team cast for the final phase.
Storming back from a 12-point deficit, Canada leaned on clutch buckets from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks to complete the comeback as the second round of the global hoops showpiece concluded.
Brooks sank a triple to knot the score at 80-80 before Gilgeous-Alexander scored their last 8 points, including six pressure-packed free throws, to keep Spain at bay.
Gilgeous-Alexander, an All-NBA First Team member, churned out 30 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals for Canada, which topped Group L with a 4-1 slate.
Spain settled for a 3-2 record and missed the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994 as the top four teams in the last World Cup all failed to advance.
Runner-up Argentina did not even make it to the World Cup, bronze medalist France bombed out in the group stage, while fourth placer Australia crashed out of contention in the second round.
Also securing their place in the final phase on Sunday were Latvia, Italy, and Serbia, joining early entrants USA, Lithuania, Germany, and Slovenia.
Here are the quarterfinals pairings:
- Italy vs USA – September 5
- Lithuania vs Serbia – September 5
- Germany vs Latvia – September 6
- Canada vs Slovenia – September 6
Latvia, the lone team standing among four World Cup debutants in this edition, continued its surprise run by placing second in Group L after a 104-84 thrashing of Brazil.
Although Latvia finished with an identical 4-1 record as Canada, it settled for second place after losing to the Road Warriors in the group stage.
Andrejs Grazulis delivered 24 points, 5 assists, and 2 blocks to pace Latvia, which will face Dennis Schroder and Germany in the quarterfinals.
Germany ranked first in Group K in Okinawa, Japan with a perfect 5-0 card after ending the second round with a 100-71 whipping of Luka Doncic and Slovenia behind a 24-point, 10-assist masterclass from Schroder.
Slovenia, which fell to 4-1 for second place in Group K despite a 23-point, 6-rebound, 6-assist effort from Doncic, will tangle with Canada.
Over in Group I at the Araneta Coliseum, Italy and Serbia cruised to a pair of blowout wins on Sunday as they both posted 4-1 records for a one-two finish.
Simone Fontecchio produced a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double to propel Italy to a 73-57 win over Puerto Rico and set up a quarterfinal duel with the USA.
Meanwhile, Serbia drubbed Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic in a methodical 112-79 romp thanks to a balanced attack led by Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic put up 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals as Serbia punched its ticket to the last eight, where it will go up against unbeaten Lithuania.
Lithuania claimed the No. 1 spot in Group J at the Mall of Asia Arena after hacking out a 110-104 win over the USA, which slipped to 4-1.
All the records, though, will be thrown out the window as the eight remaining squads from the original 32-team field converge in Manila to play the final phase at the Mall of Asia Arena starting on Tuesday, September 5. – Rappler.com