World Cup by the numbers
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2019 - 12:00am

FOSHAN – The first round of Group D hostilities is over in the FIBA World Cup with unbeaten Serbia and Italy advancing to the second round in Wuhan and Angola and winless Philippines relegated to the classifiers in Beijing.

Two games are left in Gilas’ schedule. First is against Tunisia today and second is against Iran on Sunday. First round records are carried over to the second round and classifiers so the Philippines will bring its 0-3 mark to the next phase in determining the standings from No. 17 to No. 32.

Here are interesting numbers on the World Cup:

5 – American coaches in the World Cup. They’re Angola’s Will Voigt, USA’s Gregg Popovich, Poland’s Mike Taylor, Jordan’s Joseph Stiebing and Canada’s Nick Nurse.

11 – foreigners coaching national teams, not their countries. They’re Voigt, Taylor, Stiebing, Nurse, Italians Paolo Povia for Ivory Coast and Sergio Scariolo for Spain, Argentinians Fernando Duro for Venezuela and Julio Lamas for Japan, Portuguese Mario Palma for Tunisia, Israeli Ronen Ginzburg for the Czech Republic and Croatian Aleksandar Petrovic for Brazil.

7 – double-double games posted by Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche in eight World Cup outings since 2014 in Spain. The nine-year NBA veteran had six in a row then the streak was snapped when he was held to five points and four rebounds in the Philippines’ 126-67 loss to Serbia last Monday. Blatche was back in form with 23 points and 12 boards in Gilas’ 84-81 overtime defeat to Angola two days later.

10 – wins by Serbia in friendlies without a loss preparatory to the World Cup. Among the victims were Italy twice, 96-64 and 71-65, Greece, 85-80 in overtime, Turkey, 87-72 and France, 61-56. Serbia is No. 1 in the World Cup power rankings and the oddsmakers’ choice to win the gold medal. Serbia finished No. 11 in the 2006 World Cup, climbed to No. 4 in 2010 and moved up to No. 2 in 2014.

6 – straight losses absorbed by Italy in friendlies entering the World Cup. Included in the disastrous trip were setbacks to Greece, 83-63, Turkey, 72-70, France, 82-80 and New Zealand, 88-82. For the first time in its World Cup history, Italy opened this year’s competition with its largest average winning margin of 38.5 points in back-to-back victories.

9 – wins by Serbia when scoring over 90 points in 10 World Cup games. The only contest that Serbia lost despite scoring at least 90 was in the 2014 final where the US won, 129-92. In the ongoing World Cup, Serbia is averaging 107.7 points.

7 – NBA veterans from the list of 17 FIBA World Cup MVPs. They’re Drazen Petrovic in 1986, Toni Kukoc in 1990, Shaquille O’Neal in 1994, Dirk Nowitzki in 2002, Pau Gasol in 2006, Kevin Durant in 2010 and Kyrie Irving in 2014.

39 – countries represented in the pool of 56 referees working 92 games in this year’s World Cup. Of the 56, 10 are Asians, including the only Filipino Bong Pascual.

12 – countries in this year’s World Cup that failed to qualify in 2014. They’re Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Nigeria, Canada, Venezuela, China, Japan and Jordan. The Czech Republic and Montenegro are making their World Cup debuts this year.

7 – countries that will automatically qualify for the Olympics through the World Cup. The top placers from Africa, Asia and Oceania and the top two placers from Europe and the Americas will claim the first seven Olympic slots. Another slot will be given to Japan as host nation. The four remaining slots will be decided in four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments involving 24 teams.

160 – countries that are receiving live TV feeds of FIBA’s world-wide game-by-game coverage.

5 – NBA veterans in Serbia’s lineup. They’re Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, Boban Marjanovic of the Dallas Mavericks, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Miroslav Raduljica, formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timerwolves. Additionally, Marko Guduric was recently signed by the Memphis Grizzlies, Vasilije Micic was Philadelphia’s second round pick in 2014 and Nikola Milutinov was San Antonio’s fist round pick in 2015. In comparison, Italy has three NBA veterans – Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Gigi Datome.


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