The Canadian team concluded their participation in the first phase of Mundobasket 2023 on Tuesday, taking place in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, with a comfortable victory (101-75) over the other team, which arrived undefeated in Group H, Latvia. while Germany also comfortably defeated Finland (101-75) in Group E, confirming themselves as one of the strongest teams of the tournament.
Jordi Fernández’s side was doubtful against a Latvian team that had nothing to lose and ended the first quarter with a 10-point lead. But the American team woke up in the second set, adjusted in defense, and possessed a more fluid attack that allowed them to go to the dressing room with just one point on the mattress.
The gap widened in the second half when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brought down the Latvians with an excellent performance (27 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists). The point guard continues to establish himself as the World Cup decider to date, aided by RJ Barrett, who scored 22 points.
On the other hand, Germany completed their flawless first phase with a stunning win over Finland, who, after being the revelation of the last European Basketball Championship, are leaving the World Cup without a win. Again without their star Franz Wagner, the Germans put on a very impressive 10-over-10 game, with Isaac Bonga and Dennis Schroder, both at 15, standing out.
Considered one of the surprises of the championship, the Dominican Republic finishes the first phase with numerous victories after beating the Angolan team with some effort (75-67). The standout player was once again Joventut’s point guard Andrés Feliz, who scored 17 points against the Africans after his performance against Italy.
After the controversial defeat to the Dominican Republic, the Italians needed a win against the Philippines to secure their lead, and they achieved it, albeit with more suffering than expected (90-83). Good Simone Fontecchio commanded a transalpine team in which up to six players scored double digits, nullifying Jordan Clarkson’s precise performance (23 points and 7 rebounds) against the hosts.
The Dominicans and Italians face Group B in the second round, where Serbia is classified, and Puerto Rico has a game to go to beat China and hopes the Serbs can do the same against South Sudan.
In the confrontation between unbeaten teams, the Lithuanians were clearly superior (91-71) to the ailing Montenegro, which could not repeat the successes of its two previous appearances. In the Balkans, Chicago Bulls player Nikola Vucevic was the only one to trouble the Lithuanian defense with 19 points, a team that fielded the talented Rokas Jokubaitis, who led the ship with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists, certifying the first position.
The Egyptian team was stronger in the duel against Mexico (100-72), two teams that knew no victory. The Africans overpowered the South American team around Ehab Amin Saleh (22 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds). With the Mexicans, Francisco Cruz and Joshu Ibarra were eliminated by the time they were 21, but that wasn’t enough to avoid becoming the group’s red lantern.
The Montenegrins and Lithuanians will now face big favorites USA, who have already secured their top spot with a game to go, while Greece and New Zealand will play each other for last place.
In an eliminator, the Oceanians had no trouble beating the Japanese team (109-89) with an excellent offensive performance led by NBA players Josh Giddey (26 points) and Xavier Cooks (24 and 16 rebounds), who stole the game at the start and allowed Brian Goorjian to rest his stars. In Japan, Josh Hawkinson was the best with 33 points, but that didn’t help bring his team closer to the Boomers.
In the second phase, the Germans, now with Wagner back, and the Australians meet in Group F, where Slovenia is already classified and Georgia must defeat Venezuela to secure their place and fight for a place in the quarterfinals.
After the surprise defeat to Latvia that led to their elimination from the tournament, the French team had a chance to salvage their honor against a weak Lebanon, but Vicent Collet’s team suffered much more than expected, claiming their first and only win in this world championship (85-79).
The Europeans fell back a point going into the last third, largely thanks to the performance of Lebanese point guard Wael Arakji (29 points), but the figure of Real Madrid player Guerschon Yabusele emerged in the last quarter. He used his physique and intensity to get 18 points and put his team ahead before finishing the duel with a six-point lead.
Canada and Latvia now cross the path of Spain, who, after securing their pass by beating Brazil, must defeat Iran this Wednesday to face this second phase with a cushion in which the Brazilians play Costa de Ivory and complete the group.