Fiba World Cup: Japan keeps lead among Asians as continental rivals fall | Inquirer Sports

Fiba World Cup: Japan keeps lead among Asians as continental rivals fall

/ 12:32 AM August 29, 2023

Jordan Fiba World Cup

Jordan’s bench during its game against New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup. –FIBA

The door to the Summer Olympic Games is slowly closing for Gilas Pilipinas, something the team hopes to change with an upset over World No. 10 Italy on Tuesday in the Fiba World Cup.

Gilas had a meltdown against Angola, 80-70, last Sunday night for its second straight loss, placing the Filipinos at the bottom of Group A after also folding to Karl-Anthony Towns and bracket leader Dominican Republic in their opening game, 87-81.

Finishing as the highest-placed Asian team in the World Cup would guarantee an Olympic berth in Paris next year, and Japan took one step closer to securing that spot after notching a historic win against Finland, 98-88, also on Sunday.

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Naturalized power forward Joshua Hawkinson put on a show for the Akatsuki Five with 28 points and 19 rebounds against the Finnish in Group E in Okinawa, Japan.

Gilas’ last chance at staying in the competition will be against the Azzurri, who won’t be a picnic either. And if the stars align, Gilas would still need for Japan to lose against its last assignment against Australia.

“We hope Japan loses its last game and we win ours then it’s all tied,” national coach Chot Reyes said. “In the end it’s going to be dependent on the other games, it’s not going to be on our hands.”

In Jakarta, Canada demolished Lebanon with a 128-73 beating while setting a new World Cup record with 44 assists at Indonesia Arena.

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The Road Warriors had eight players scoring in double digits with Utah Jazz forward-center Kelly Olynyk’s 12 points and 8 rebounds leading Canada’s bid.

Debuting South Sudan notched its first-ever World Cup win with an 89-69 defeat of China on Monday, putting the Asian heavyweight’s cause on the edge.

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Despite getting a better performance from naturalized player Kyle Anderson of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, who finished with 22 points, China couldn’t craft a win.

New Zealand, meanwhile, needed overtime to carve out a victory against Jordan, 95-87, despite a huge game by PBA champion and now the Jordanian’s naturalized player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

The Tall Blacks squeezed out a win despite squandering a lead late in the regulation and a massive performance from Hollis-Jefferson, who had 39 points and nine rebounds, and a four-point play that forced the extra period.

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Cote d’Ivoire against Iran, 71-69, in Group G behind the 17 points of Nisre Zouzoua.

TAGS: Fiba World Cup

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