As the home of the FIBA World Cup Finals Phase, these are the teams (and players) that will be coming to Manila for a shot at the trophy.
The 2023 FIBA World Cup is hosted by three nations in Asia: the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. While all three countries got to share their hosting duties throughout the group stage of the tournament, the finals phase of the World Cup, which includes the quarters all the way to the finals, will go down in Manila.
A ticket to Manila, Philippines has never looked more enticing for all these international basketball players competing for the Naismith trophy.
Now that the group phase is officially over, the action is now about to really begin. Here are the teams who qualified to be in the final eight lucky enough to play in the finals phase in Manila.
Lithuania vs Serbia
Lithuania will be entering the quarterfinals of the 2023 FIBA World Cup on a high after defeating the United States in a thrilling game in Manila to close out the second week of the tournament. The European power squad, strengthened by NBA player Jonas Valanciunas, took the top spot in the group with a 4-1 record. Their string of wins also guarantees them a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Despite Lithuania’s impressive record, it’s unlikely that Serbia will make their quarterfinal match easy for them. With banner players including Bogan Bogdanovic and Nikola Milutinov, Serbia thrashed the Dominican Republic with a blowout 112-79 win to reach their fourth straight quarterfinals appearance in the FIBA World Cup.
Italy vs USA
The Italy squad seems to have made themselves comfortable on the courts in Manila, Philippines, despite a slow start to their FIBA World Cup campaign. After their 90-83 win over Gilas Pilipinas in the group stage, Italy has found their footing, as they managed to reach the quarterfinals with a win over Puerto Rico. This already marks the European team’s best World Cup finish since 1998, where they placed sixth, and they will surely hope to continue their momentum over their opponents in the quarters.
The United States always comes into the FIBA World Cup among the favorites to win the title, and they came into Manila for the 2023 edition just the same. However, Lithuania has kept them from entering the quarterfinals with a clean record, as the European team handed the all-NBA squad their first loss of the tournament.
Germany vs Latvia
Germany closed out the second week of the tournament on a high with a statement 100-71 win over Slovenia on Sunday, September 3. Despite dominating Slovenia, the game was still enthralling to watch as fans got to see Danis Schröder down 24 points and record 10 assists in 25 minutes. Surely, Filipino hoop fans will enjoy seeing the NBA point guard dishing the same energy out on the courts of Manila.
On the other hand, Latvia seems to be a team eager to prove themselves. They have kept out powerhouse teams Brazil and France from the quarterfinals of the World Cup thanks to their stellar offense that saw them take their spot in Manila with a 104-84 victory over Brazil. Will they be able to keep out another European powerhouse to stay in the game?
Slovenia vs Canada
Filipino basketball fans have been keeping their eyes on Slovenia’s journey through the World Cup, as many of them have surely been awaiting NBA star Luka Doncic’s arrival in Manila for the finals phase of the tournament. And their quarterfinal opponent will make for an exciting game to watch.
Facing Canada in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup, Slovenia’s Doncic will be facing his Dallas Mavericks teammate Dwight Powell. Canada is coming into the quarters on a high after knocking out the defending champions, Spain, to secure their ticket to Manila. Only one of these Mavericks will see the next round. Who do you think it will be?
Which stars are you most excited to see in Manila?
Banner image from FIBA.