OQT roundup: June 29, 2021 – News

The Olympic Qualifying Tournaments are underway! Poland, Lithuania, Brazil, Serbia and Germany were the first teams to register respective wins and get closer to their olympic dream. Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, United States, Iran, France, Spain and Australia have already qualified to the 20th Olympic Basketball Tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

OQT Kaunas: Poland, Lithuania are first winners

Poland was the first team to record a win at the OQT Kaunas by downing Angola 83-64 at Zalgirio Arena. Mateusz Ponitka of Zenit St Petersburg led the winners with 22 points. A.J. Slaughter added 16 and his Herbalife Gran Canaria teammate Aleksander Balcerowski, the 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star, had 14 for Poland. Slaughter struck twice from downtown and Balcerowski added another one for an early 13-4 Polish lead. Poland kept a 24-19 lead after 10 minutes and extended it to 43-31 at halftime. Ponitka took over after the break, getting help from Aaron Cel and Michael Sokolovski to make it a 20-point game, 54-34. Nothing changed after that, as Poland kept a 62-45 margin at the end of the third quarter and cruised to a well-deserved win.

Lithuania started the OQT Kaunas with the right foot by topping Venezuela 76-65 behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from former All-EuroCup center Jonas Valanciunas. Domantas Sabonis and Mantas Kalnietis of Zalgiris Kaunas each added 12 points while Rokas Giedraitis of TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz had 10 for the winners. David Cubillan has 11 points for Venezuela, that led 9-10 late in the first quarter. Sabonis scored down low for an 11-10 Lithuanian edge after 10 minutes. Giedraitis, Rokas Jokubaitis of Zalgiris Kaunas and Valanciunas stepped up in the second quarter, giving Lithuania a 23-15 lead. Cubillan helped Venezuela tie it at 28-28 but Valanciunas and Kalnietis fueled an 8-0 run that put Lithuania ahead for good, 36-28, at halftime. Marius Grigonis of CSKA Moscow helped his team get a double-digit lead, 55-44, at the end of the third quarter. Lithuania boosted its margin to 69-53 and sealed the outcome long before the final buzzer.

OQT Split: Germany outlasts Mexico, Brazil bets Tunisia

Germany struck first at the OQT Split by topping Mexico 82-76 at Spaladium Arena. Joshiko Saibou led 5 German players in double digits with 17 points. Isaac Bonga had 13, Moritz Wagner and Andreas Obst each got 11 while Johannes Voigtmann of CSKA Moscow got 10 and 10 rebounds for the winners. Pako Cruz led Mexico with 30 points. Former All-EuroLeague center Gustavo Ayon added 18 and 15 rebounds. An outstanding Cruz allowed Mexico to get a 15-22 lead late in the first quarter. Germany got within 19-22 after 10 minutes and tied the game, 27-27, on a three-point shot by Wagner. Cruz got plenty of help from Ayon to make Mexico restore a 40-42 edge at halftime. Cruz and Ayon kept pacing their national team, and Fabian James hit a triple for a 62-67 Mexican lead at the end of the third quarter. Saibou and Johannes Thiemann of ALBA Berlin completed the German comeback, 71-68, with 6 minutes left. Germany boosted its margin to 80-71 behind an unstoppable Theimann and never looked back.

Brazil confirmed its status as one of the top candidates to reach Tokyo by thrashing Tunisia 57-83 with 15 points from Vitor Benite. Rafael Hettsheimeir added 11 and Leonardo Meindl 10 for Brazil. Oussana Marnaoui led Tunisia with 12 points. Tunisia did not lead in the first quarter but a tip-in by Ahmed Addadi tied the game, 21-21, after 10 minutes. Mohamed Hadidane struck from downtown to put his team ahead, 24-21, but Rafael Hettsheimeir downed consecutive triples in a 2-14 run that put Brazil in charge for good, 26-35. Yago Santos and Lucas Diaz joined the three-point shootout to push the Brazilian lead to double digits, 31-43, at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Brazil boosted its margin to 40-59 on a layup by former Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv guard Alex Garcia, soon made it a 26-point game, 50-76, and had plenty of time to celebrate the win.

OQT Belgrade: Serbia records first win

Serbia had to battle hard to down the Dominican Republic 76-94 at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall. Former All-EuroLeague center Boban Marjanovic led the winners with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Filip Petrusev added 17 points, reigning EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic had 16 and former EuroLeague MVP Nemanja Bjelica got 12 for Serbia. Victor Liz and Mike Torres led the Dominican Republic with 16 points apiece. Serbia got its big men involved in the first quarter, as Bjelica, Marjanovic and Petrusev combined for 22 points to give their team a 23-31 margin after 10 minutes. The Dominican Republic tied the game, 39-39, on a three-point shot by Gelvis Solano, and used another triple by Liz to get the lead, 46-43. Micic and Marjanovic helped Serbia tie the game, 47-47, at halftime. Sadiel Rojas tied the game for the last time, 69-69, early in the fourth quarter. Marjanovic and Micic fueled a 0-8 run that former EuroLeague champion Nikola Kalinic capped with a driving layup to break the game open, 69-78. Serbia soon boosted its margin to 74-89 and did not find much trouble to add the win down the stretch.

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