As Gilas searches for first win, Lebanon breaks through in Fiba World Cup | Inquirer Sports

As Gilas searches for first win, Lebanon breaks through in Fiba World Cup

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 09:20 PM August 31, 2023

Lebanon Fiba World Cup

Lebanon celebrates after posting its first win in the 2023 Fiba World Cup. -FIBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines-Lebanon added more weight to Gilas Pilipinas’ Olympic aspirations after downing Ivory Coast, 94-84, in the classification phase of the 2023 Fiba World Cup at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta.

With Asia Cup MVP Wael Arakji on the bench resting a hurting ankle, Amir Saoud rose to the occasion with 29 points and eight assists for the Lebanese, whose first victory in the tournament put them on equal footing with China and Japan in their bid to nail a spot in next year’s Paris Olympics.


Omari Spellman likewise came out with his finest performance yet after four outings, sinking a crucial three atop the arc with 53 seconds remaining to finish with 29 points.


Spellman’s triple hit the front end of the rim and bounced off the glass before trickling in, giving Lebanon an 89-84 cushion that eventually broke the resolve of the Ivorians.

Jean Philippe Dally fired 21 points and Patrick Tape added 15 for the Fiba Africa runners-up, who opened their stint with a setback in the stage where the 17th to 32nd rankings will be determined.

China’s 83-76 breakthrough triumph over Angola in Group M has put more pressure on Gilas Pilipinas, which is currently playing catchup to South Sudan on Thursday evening.

Gilas, dropping all of its three games in the initial group stage, is bidding to become the best Asian team to automatically clinch an Olympic berth next year in Paris.

Japan is statistically leading the race by holding a 2-2 record in Group O following an 86-77 win over Venezuela also on Thursday while China and Lebanon (Group P) both improved to 1-3.

Iran faces France in the other Group P match, hoping to barge into the win column after ending up winless in the opening phase together with Jordan (0-3).

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas, Lebanon

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