Skip to main content
Best News Website or Mobile Service
WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Worldwide 2022
Best News Website or Mobile Service
Digital Media Awards Worldwide 2022
Hamburger Menu




Record crowd for World Cup start in Philippines

Record crowd for World Cup start in Philippines

Dominican Republic guard Victor Liz (5) shoots over Philippine players during their match at the Basketball World Cup at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province, Philippines on Aug 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA: The FIBA Basketball World Cup got underway in three Asian countries on Friday (Aug 25), with co-hosts the Philippines losing to Dominican Republic 87-81 in a game that shattered the tournament's 29-year-old attendance record.

It was a strong tipoff for FIBA's flagship event that will feature top-ranked Spain seeking to defend their crown while the United States will aim for a record sixth championship, despite both countries missing marquee names because of injuries, retirement or club commitments.

FIBA said a record crowd of 38,115 attended the world's largest indoor arena north of the capital Manila, erasing the previous record of 32,616 fans that watched the US-Russia final at the 1994 World Cup in Toronto, Canada.

The basketball-obsessed and boisterous Filipino fans went home disappointed, however, following the defeat of the 40th-ranked Philippines to 23rd-ranked Dominican Republic.

The Philippines' Jordan Clarkson led the scoring with 28 points before fouling out with three and a half minutes remaining.

"We found a way to stay disciplined tonight," Dominican Republic center Karl-Anthony Towns told reporters.

Hometown fans booed Towns every time he had the ball early in the game but the Minnesota Timberwolves player led the Dominican Republic with 26 points, mostly on free throws drawn by bullying his way to the hoop.

"My teammates set me up in great positions," he added.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr watched the game on the opening day of the tournament's 19th edition that will run until Sep10.

Prior to the Philippines' defeat at the 52,000-seat Arena, Italy dominated Angola to win 81-67 in the closing minutes, with Simone Fontecchio leading their attack with 19 points.

In Manila, Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic's 27 points helped Montenegro beat Mexico 91-71 while Lithuania defeated Egypt 93-67.

Australia overcame Finland 98-72, and Germany beat co-host Japan 81-63 in Okinawa. In Jakarta, Latvia overwhelmed Lebanon 109-70 led by Dairis Bertans' 20 points, while Canada beat France 95-65.

The rest of the 32 qualified teams will start their campaigns on Saturday. Spain, missing the 2019 World Cup's most valuable player Ricky Rubio, who stepped away from the game to focus on his mental health, will play Ivory Coast in Jakarta while second-ranked United States will play New Zealand's Tall Blacks in Manila.

Seven teams, two each from the Americas and Europe as well as one apiece from Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics based on their World Cup finish.

France, Canada, Greece, and Germany are among the favourites for the tournament, according to FIBA's Power Rankings.

Source: Reuters/lk


Also worth reading