Lithuania torches Luka Doncic's Slovenia to get chance at fifth place | Inquirer Sports
Fiba World Cup

Lithuania torches Luka Doncic’s Slovenia to get chance at fifth place

/ 11:29 PM September 07, 2023

Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas against Slovenia's Luka Doncic

Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas against Slovenia’s Luka Doncic in a Fiba World Cup classification game. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Jonas Valanciunas dropped a double-double to lead the balanced attack of Lithuania to trounce the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia, 100-84, and advance to the Battle for 5th of the Fiba World Cup 2023 on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The 6-foot-11 Valanciunas imposed his will inside the paint with 24 points and 12 rebounds for a chance to put the Lithuanians at fifth place when they take on Latvia on Saturday evening.


“We’re playing for the fans, We’re playing for the people, who came here to support us. We’re not gonna give up those two games. Probably, don’t mean too much but we’re fighting for our people, our country,” Valanciunas told reporters.


“Everybody played hard. Everybody contributed. Everybody gave everything on the court. We’re still gonna play our basketball, our identity. One more game left,” he added.

The Lithuanians held Doncic to 1-of-10 shooting in the second half. The Dallas Mavericks star’s only field goal came from a trey in the final 34 seconds of the game.

Slovenia captain Luka Doncic.

Slovenia captain Luka Doncic. –MARLO CUETO/

The Slovenian captain finished with 29 points — 19 from the first half — to go with six rebounds, three steals, and two assists as his team suffered its third straight loss in the World Cup despite being a crowd favorite in Manila.

Ignas Brazdeikis was instrumental in Lithuania’s win with 15 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Deividas Sirvydis chipped in 14 markers each while Vaidas Kariniauskas dished out 10 assists.

Lithuania bounced back from a tough 87-68 loss to Serbia in the quarterfinals. It unleashed a 14-2 run from the end of the third to the last seven minutes of the game capped by Sirvydis’ triple to push the lead t  21 points, 86-65, and never looked back.

“It was tough up there up to the last game. But we found energy, we found the courage to come out and play hard,” Valanciunas said.


Slovenia allowed its opponent to score 100 points for the third straight time.

Aleksej Nikolic had 14 points for the Slovenians. Mike Tobey chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, while Zoran Dragic added 12 markers.

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Doncic will play his last game at MOA Arena when Slovenia tries to take the seventh place against Italy on Saturday.

TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania, Luka Doncic, Slovenia

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