Fiba World Cup: Greece spoils Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s debut for Jordan
MANILA, Philippines—Greece needed a big fourth quarter to hold off Jordan, 92-71, in Group C of the Fiba World Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
Minus its NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece leaned on a balanced effort led by Giannoulis Larentzakis’ 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.
Greece, which shot 51 percent from the field and had 41-31 rebounding edge, outscored Jordan, 26-11, in the final frame.
The Greeks also drew double-digit output from three other players with Thomas Walkup scoring all of his 13 points in the first half while Ioannis Papapetrou and Nikos Rogkavopoulos added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
“We opened the game not that good but after that we took it over from their with our defense,” said Greece coach Dimitrios Itoudis.
The game also marked Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s first game back in Manila since leading the TNT Tropang Giga to the PBA Governors’ Cup title last April.
Hollis-Jefferson made his debut as Jordan’s naturalized player and kept his team within striking distance until Greece went on a fourth-quarter surge.
“It was a hard fought game. I wanna give credit to my teammates and also to Greece for withstanding our punch,” said Hollis-Jefferson.
The former NBA veteran posted game-highs of 24 points and nine rebounds despite being in foul trouble but failed to get ample support from his teammates when it mattered most.
Jordan’s loss meant no Asian team has yet to barge into the win column in this year’s World Cup.
Giannis’ brother Thanasis, the only Antetokounmpo available for Greece, chipped in nine points and five rebounds.
Greece plays Team USA next on Monday while Jordan tries to bounce back against New Zealand.