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6 teams reach last 16 in FIBA World Cup
Published : 02 Sep 2019, 21:07
Serbia, Italy, Argentina, Poland, Spain and Russia have reached the last 16 after snatching their respective second straight wins on Monday at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Serbia, one of the title favorites, trounced the Philippines 126-67 to advance with one game remaining, along with Italy in Group D. Nemanja Bjelica led seven Serbian players who scored in double figures, while the Philippine star Andray Blatche did not have his night, finishing just 5 points before fouling out.
Suffering a slow start, the Serbs were tied at 7-all with six minutes left in the opening quarter before Nikola Jokic's substitution helped his team reclaim the lead.
The runner-up of the 2014 FIBA World Championship never look back as Bogdan Bogdanovic, playing for the Sacramento Kings, continued Serbia's firepower.
"Players delivered and did their job well. All players are in good physical shape, and it's a good sign for us," Serbian head coach Sasha Djordjevic said.
Another Group D team Italy also secured a last 16 berth after claiming a convincing 92-61 win over Angola. Marco Belinelli posted the game-high 17 points. Yanick Moreira of Angola battled with 15 points but could not avoid his team's second straight defeat.
"Everybody was aggressive in offense and defense. We played two good quarters, but in the third and fourth quarters we could do much better. But what's important for us is to win the game and be ready for the next one," Belinelli said.
The Italians rode on a 12-2 spurt midway through the first period to pull into a double-digit lead. Going 59-28 up with 5:13 remaining in the third period, Italy were well beyond the striking distance for their African opponents.
China suffered from early foul trouble and made key-time errors, losing to Poland 79-76 after overtime and sending the rival side to top Group A.
Yi Jianlian had the team-high 24 points for China. Wang Zhelin and Zhou Qi added 10 points each. Poland's Mateusz Ponitka scored the game-high 25 points.
The host looked poised to win the tight game, up by one point with the ball and 4.2 seconds left. But Zhou Qi's inbounds pass turned out to be a turnover and gave the Polish side chance to go to overtime with free throws.
With 9.8 seconds left in the overtime thriller, China's Zhao Jiwei was unable to inbounds the ball for a five-second violation and Ponitka split two more free throws to decide the game.
"It's a tough game and our players did their best," said Li Nan, head coach of China.
Venezuela bounced back and took its first victory, winning 87-71 over Cote d'Ivoire in Group A. The Venezuela sharpshooter Heissler Guillent was 6 of 9 from 3-point range, pouring in the game-high 31 points.
Spain emerged as the sole secured side from Group C after a 12-0 spurt in the third quarter gifted the European powerhouse a 73-63 win over Puerto Rico.
In the group's other game on Monday, Tunisia toppled Iran 79-67 to keep their hope alive. Salah Mejri scored the game-high 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Michael Roll added 18 points for Tunisia.
Hamed Haddadi and Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi inspired Iran to cut deficit in the second half but their hope dimmed as the Tunisian side kept scoring.
In Group B's play, Argentina cruise past Nigeria 94-81 and Russia beat South Korea 87-73. Both sides claimed two wins from as many games and locked the top two spots of the group with one game in hand.