Bridges Mikal Bridges of the United States looks to score in this bit of action in the FIBA World Cup 2023 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. FIBA photo

FIBA World Cup q’final battles begin

September 4, 2023 Robert Andaya 222 views

THE eight-team quarterfinal round cast of the FIBA World Cup 2023 is finally complete.

And while most of the top teams safely made it, there were still several surprises to remember before action shifts to the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

First, five-time champion United States — the team composed of rising NBA stars — is unbeaten no more.

The United States fell behind early in the game and suffered its first loss — 104-110 to Lithuania — in the 32-nation competition.

Except for final placing at the end of the round-of-16 action, the game didn’t matter much for both quarterfinalists Lithuania and the United States.

Second, 2019 FIBA World Cup winner Spain was sent back home by Canada and rising NBA stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brook, 85-88.

Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Australia also bowed out of contention despite a 3-2 win-loss record behind Germany and Slovenia in Group K.

In other results Sunday, Italy defeated Puerto Rico, 73-57, and Serbia eliminated Dominican Republic, 112-79, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum; Germany humbled Slovenia, 100-71, and Australia bested Georgia, 100-84, at the Okinawa Arena in Japan; Latvia humbled Brazil, 104-84, at the Jakarta Arena in Indonesia; and Montenegros downed Greece, 73-69, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

So, the quarterfinal round cast will pit Group J champion Lithuania against Group I runner-up Serbia and Group J runner-up United States against Group I topnotcher Italy on Tuesday; and Group K frontrunner Germany against Group L second-placer Latvia and Group L topnotcher Canada against Group K runner-up Slovenia on Wednesday.

In the semis, the winner of the Lithuania-Serbia match will battle the victor of the Canada-Slovenia encounter.

Similarly, the winner of the Italy-United States showdown will meet the victor of the Germany-Latvia matchup in the semis.

The winners in the semis will meet for the gold medal game, while the losers will dispute the bronze on Sept. 10.

Games Tuesday:

(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:45 p.m. – Lithuania vs. Serbia
8:40 p.m. — Italy vs. USA