Jonas Valanciunas relishes Lithuania's first win over Team USA since 2004 | Inquirer Sports

Jonas Valanciunas relishes Lithuania’s first win over Team USA since 2004

/ 12:54 AM September 04, 2023

Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas

Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas. –FIBA BASKETBALL

MANILA, Philippines–Jonas Valanciunas hailed the performance put up by Lithuania in scoring a massive win over the United States at the conclusion of the Fiba World Cup’s second round action on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lithuanians prevailed 110-104, much to the astonishment of a predominantly pro-Team USA crowd to sweep  the first two rounds and giving the Americans a huge concern going into the quarterfinals.


It was Lithuania’s first win over Team USA since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.


“We wanted to give a good basketball celebration today,” Valanciunas said at the mixed zone area. “It’s history too, not many teams have won against the US. So we played hard, we battled and got the W.”

A portion of Lithuanian fans, cheering all throughout the match, celebrated the massive win that put a dent in Team USA’s aspirations of regaining the title in Fiba’s biggest showcase.

Lithuania celebrates its Fiba World Cup win over Team USA.

Lithuania celebrates its Fiba World Cup win over Team USA. –FIBA BASKETBALL

The victory set up Lithuania in a quarterfinal date with European rival Serbia on Tuesday at the same Pasay City venue, and Valanciunas cautioned that his team will need to make a quick turnaround and focus on what’s ahead.

“Every win means a lot,” said the New Orleans Pelicans center. “But we can’t relax, we can’t look at the other games differently.

“Right now, there’s really very important games coming up and we got to give everything and that’s the most important,” added Valanciunas.

Lithuania leaned mostly on its terrific shooting start from beyond the arc, hitting its first nine shots while Valanciunas and the rest of the bigs imposed its presence in the paint against the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Paolo Banchero.


Seven players scored in double figures led by Vaidas Kariniauskas’ 15 as Lithuania also showed its class by hitting 15 threes while dominating the Americans on the glass, 43-27.

United States spent most of the game trying to mount a comeback led by Anthony Edwards, but Lithuania refused to buckle and made plays despite a lead as high as 21 was cut to four a couple of times in the second half.

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Jonas Valanciunas

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