#FIBAOQT Manila Roundup Day 2

(Image from FIBA)
*These first appeared on FIBA.com.

New Zealand break Philippine hearts

New Zealand withstood every rally that Philippines mounted and came out victorious, 89-80, on the second day of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. The Tall Blacks led nearly wire to wire and eliminated Gilas Pilipinas from Olympic contention.

Turning Point: The hosts managed to trim what once was a 13-point deficit to just a solitary point, 60-59, early in the fourth quarter, but that’s when New Zealand, behind the efforts of Tom Abercrombie, Isaac Fotu and the Webster brothers conspired to deliver a big finishing kick. The Kiwis outscored the Filipinos, 29-21 the rest of the way to notch their first win of the OQT.

Stats Don't Lie: Unlike last night against France, the Philippines just couldn’t find their rhythm in this game. They managed to make just 41% of their field goals compared to 48% for New Zealand. Gilas made 11 three-pointers here, but it was offset by their 14 turnovers.

Game Hero: Corey Webster was the marked man for the Kiwis heading into this game, but it was his younger brother Tai who stole the show. The younger Webster scored 25 points on top of 11 rebounds and 3 assists and to lead the Tall Blacks. He also made all but one of his 11 free throws.

The Bottom Line: New Zealand couldn’t have asked for a better start, and they will go into their pivotal match with France tomorrow full of confidence. The winner of that feud enters the Semi-Finals as the top seed of Group B. The hosts, meanwhile, just kissed their Olympic hopes goodbye and will go back to the drawing board for the FIBA Asia Challenge later this year.


Canada survive gritty Senegal to advance

Canada had to buckle down to work, but their efforts paid off after they survived a gritty Senegal, 58-55, on the second day of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.

Turning Point: After Maurice Ndour hit a three-pointer with 59 seconds to go in the game to trim the deficit to just 2 points, 55-53, teammate Clevin Hannah had a chance to give Senegal the lead, but he missed on his own three-point attempt with 21 ticks to go. He also missed a second time at the buzzer with Senegal down by just 3 points, and that out the outcome beyond doubt.

Stats Don't Lie: Senegal was right in it for practically the entire game, but they just couldn’t get over the hump. The main culprit was their awful field goal shooting. As a team, the Lions missed 50 of their 69 field goal attempts, which translated to a paltry 28% success rate. Canada didn’t do much better at 32%, but they compensated by also forcing 16 Senegalese turnovers.

Game Hero: In a game with terrible offense on both sides, it was Melvin Ejim who was the silent hero. Ejim, who plays in the Italian Serie A, tallied 11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 three-pointer and 1 block, giving the Canadians the lift they needed when their stars were struggling.

The Bottom Line: Canada sweep Group A and enter the Semi-Finals as the favorites against whomever they’ll face from Group B. They’ll need to rediscover their shooting form, though, because missing 44 field goals and 9 free throws may not cut it again, especially in a knockout game.





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