#Spain2014 Roundup: Day One

There weren’t any big upsets on Day One of the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, but there were VERY INTERESTING outcomes. Maybe the most jaw-dropping was the fact Gilas Pilipinas forced OT on the heavily-favored Croatians and nearly beat them to start action in Group B.

And as expected, powerhouse teams Spain, USA, Greece, Serbia, Argentina, and Brazil all got their first Ws of the group phase.

THE 2014 FIBA World Cup of basketball kicked off yesterday!

Game recaps (adapted from FIBA.com):
Group A:
SERBIA over EGYPT, 85-64
Serbia had a convincing win against Egypt with point guard Milos Teodosic scoring a game-high 15 points. Stefan Bircevic also did well with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal, while Amir Gendy and Ibrahim El Gammal paced Egypt with 11 and 12 points respectively.

BRAZIL over FRANCE, 65-63
Brazil held on to claim success against France. Marcelinho Huertas had 16 points and scored many late as the Brazilians held off the French. Brazil outrebounded France here, 42-30, with Nene and Anderson Varejao pairing up for 17 boards. Boris Diaw spearheaded the France attack with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists., while Nicolas Batum tallied 13 points on 4/10 FG shooting.

SPAIN over IRAN, 90-60
In the last game of the night, tournament hosts Spain claimed its first victory over Iran as the Gasol brothers were in fine form. Pau had 33 points and 8 rebounds while Marc scored 15 and corralled 10 boards. Ricky Rubio, meanwhile, led the Spanish defense with 5 steals. It was a bona fide end-to-end rout despite Iran’s diminutive PG Mahdi Kamrani coming away with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.

Group B:
The very first game of the tournament was a humdinger, needing the competition’s first overtime to decide a winner. Andray Blatche had a major impact in his first major tournament game with Gilas Pilipinas and finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. Bojan Bogdanovic hit a pair of free-throws with 41 seconds left in the overtime to snap a 75-75 tie and put Croatia on its way to victory. Bogdanovic had 17 points for Croatia, but he also committed 6 turnovers. Dario Saric and Krunoslav Simon combined for 35 points for the victors, while Jeff Chan hit 4 treys on his way to 15 markers for Gilas.

Bojan Bogadovic probably felt frustrated that the Philippine team just wouldn't give up in their first game.

Argentina cruised to a victory over Puerto Rico in the next game. Luis Scola poured in 20 points while Andres Nocioni and Selem Safar contributed 18 each as Julio Lamas' team tasted victory on opening day. Veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni had 10 assists to go with his nine points for Argentina, while JJ Barea led Puerto Rico’s losing effort with 24 points and  assists.

GREECE over SENEGAL, 87-64
The third game in Seville saw Greece blow out Senegal. Kostas Kaimakoglou led a balanced Greek scoring attack with 17 points as Greece was in total command by halftime with a 45-17 advantage. NBA player Giennis Antetokounmpo tallied 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in his World Cup debut, while Gorgui Dieng was the best for Senegal with 26 points and 14 boards.

Kostas Papanikolaou attacks the basket strong.

Group C:
Ukraine, knotted at 27 with the Dominican Republic at the break, turned on the style with 14 unanswered points at the beginning of the third quarter and eventually ended up winning. Maxym Kornienko broke the tie with a mid-range jumper and Sergii Gladyr and Pooh Jeter followed with three-pointers to put the Ukrainians on their way. CBA veteran Jeter led the Ukrainians with 16 points, while Gladyr had 12 and Slava Kravtsov ended up with 13 markers and 7 boards. Francisco Garcia carried the fight for Dominican Republic with 18 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds.

Pooh Jeter will shore up the backcourt woes of Ukraine.

New Zealand twice had 12-point leads against Turkey, including early in the fourth quarter, but Ergin Ataman’s team struck back to prevail. Oguz Savas had 13 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, while Kerem Tunceri, Sinan Guler and Baris Hersek all made important plays for the Turks. The Tall Blacks lost despite an inspirational effort from Corey Webster, who came off the bench and scored a game-high 22 points.

USA over FINLAND, 114-55
The final game of the group between the United States and Finland had the electric atmosphere that everyone expected with thousands of Finns filling much of the arena, but then Team USA spoiled the party, racing into a 31-16 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Americans took control with their aggressive defense and extended their advantage to 60-18 at the half. Klay Thompson hit four of his seven shots from long range and finished with 18 points, and Anthony Davis also excelled with 17 in the big win. Finland, whose cause was undermined by Gerald Lee picking up three fouls in the first two minutes and eight seconds, got 12 points apiece from Petteri Koponen and Shawn Huff. 

Group D:
ANGOLA over KOREA, 80-69
In Gran Canaria, Angola started the day with big victory over Korea. Olimpio Cipriano and Yanick Moreira had 16 points each and Eduardo Mingas had 14 points and 5 rebounds for the Angolans. Korea, meanwhile, was led by pint-sized Kim Sun-Hyung, who dropped 15 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal.

Slovenia was next, notching a huge triumph over higher-ranked Australia. Goran Dragic scored 21 points, handed out 4 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds for the Junaki. The Boomers fell behind by double digits but clawed their way back to 85-80 with 42 seconds to go, thanks largely to their full-court press. Still, Slovenia made enough good plays down the stretch to preserve their win. NBA player Aron Baynes was the best for the Aussies with 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Lithuania overcame stiff resistance in the first half from Mexico to post its maiden win. Jonas Maciulis had 19 points for Lietuvas, while Toronto Raptor center Jonas Valanciunas added 17. Mexico trailed by just 4 at the break, but their guns fell silent in the third period as Lithuania broke the game open. Francisco Cruz paced the Mexicans with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. 

Unless otherwise specified, all images are from FIBA.com.

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pUKE NG INA MO bogdanovic!!! Mamatay ka na gago