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MANILA, Philippines – As if the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila wasn’t already interesting enough, anticipation for the final phase at the Mall of Asia Arena just reached a whole new level after Luka Doncic and Slovenia clinched a quarterfinal spot off an ouster of loaded Australia on Friday, September 1, in Okinawa, Japan.
Doncic, the World Cup’s leading scorer with a 30.0 points per game average prior to Friday night, had a rather average game for his standards with 19 points on 4-of-9 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists with 6 turnovers and 4 fouls, but it was nonetheless enough to book his team a ticket to Manila.
In store for Slovenia – currently No. 2 in Group K behind fellow unbeaten Germany – is an even tougher quarterfinal cast composed of the top teams from Group L: Canada, Latvia, Brazil, and reigning World Cup champion Spain.
Slovenia will have its first game on Wednesday, September 6.
In that group, title contender Canada remains on pace to also book a ticket to Manila, and Filipinos may very well be treated to another loaded squad filled with NBA standouts like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Lu Dort, and Kelly Olynyk.
If Canada reaches the quarterfinal, the Philippines and its lucky basketball fans will then be able to host all three special host picks in the original World Cup draw, including Slovenia and USA. – Rappler.com