MANILA, Philippines—It received’t be back-to-back days of heartbreak for Latvia because it moved on to the battle for fifth spot within the 2023 Fiba World Cup at Mall of Asia Area on Thursday.
After swallowing a bitter capsule following an in depth loss to Germany on Wednesday, the Latvians rebounded with an 87-82 win over Italy in one other nailbiter.
“That is what we wish. After yesterday, we need to be fifth and struggle to be a prime 5 workforce on the earth. We simply stored combating and it occurred,” mentioned ahead Rodions Kurucs.
“It was onerous within the first half as a result of yesterday we had simply 10-12 hours of relaxation, most likely. It was actually onerous however within the second half we acquired to the locker room and determined to return again with a brand new power and we simply bounced again.”
Andrejs Grazulis hit the dagger triple that set the ultimate rely with 24 seconds remaining after Italy went on a 13-5 run to wipe out a 10-point deficit within the fourth quarter.
Grazulis fired 28 factors on a 12-of-13 capturing clip to energy the Latvians, who shot a scorching 59 p.c from the sector.
Kurucs mentioned the presence of NBA star heart Kristaps Porzingis regardless of his damage was a giant enhance for Latvia all through the match.
“Him being here’s a motivation for us. Seeing him supporting us all through the entire match, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” he mentioned after ending with 4 factors, three assists and three steals.
Italy, which acquired crushed by Group USA within the quarterfinal two nights in the past, missed the providers of Utah Jazz swingman Simone Fontecchio.
Luigi Datome led the Azzurri with 20 factors whereas Marco Spissu, who drained a 3-pointer to tug the Italians inside two, 82-84, with 41 ticks to go, had 10 factors and 7 assists.
Other than Grazulis, Aigars Skele additionally shone with 12 factors and 9 rebounds for Latvia whereas Arturs Zagars added 10 factors and 6 assists.
Latvia takes on the winner between Slovenia and Lithuania for fifth place.
“I’ll take any of them as a result of we misplaced to each of them in our preparation tournaments, so I’ll take both of them. They’re each good groups and it’ll be a very good battle. We’ll give them a very good struggle,” mentioned Kurucs.
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