The Olympic Qualifying Tournaments keep going Wednesday on both sides of the Atlantic with Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup players taking on key roles for their respective nations. Slovenia, Venezuela and Poland reached the semi-finals at the OQT Kaunas, and Mexico did the same at the OQT Split. Puerto Rico and Italy directly advanced to the OQT Belgrade semi-finals due to Senegal’s last-minute withdrawal due to COVID-19 related issues. They seek to join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, United States, Iran, France, Spain and Australia, which have already qualified to the 20th Olympic Basketball Tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
OQT Kaunas: Slovenia debuts with 50-point win
Slovenia qualified to the OQT Kaunas semi-finals by overwhelming Angola 68-118 in Group B at Zalgirio Arena. Angola lost twice already, which means Poland and Lithuania are set to keep fighting for an Olympic berth at Tokyo 2020. Zoran Dragic of TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz led 8 Slovenian players in double digits with 16 points. Former EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic added 13, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals, Mike Tobey of Valencia Basket and Luka Rupnik of Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana each had 12 points while Edo Muric also of Olimpija got 10 for the winners, that led 9-33 at the end of the first quarter, boosted its margin to 30-64 at halftime and did not find any trouble to add its first win. In Group A, Venezuela also made it to the semi-finals by topping South Korea 94-80.
Your daily Luka magic ✨pic.twitter.com/OKcV8B1CJv
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) June 30, 2021
OQT Split: Mexico downs Russia, advances
Mexico bounced back from its initial loss in Group A by topping Russia 72-64 at Spaladium Arena behind 21 points from Pako Cruz. Two-time EuroLeague champion Gustavo Ayon added 11 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Semen Antonov of CSKA Moscow led Russia with 13 points. Three-time EuroLeague champion Andrey Vorontsevich and Ivan Ukhov of CSKA gave Russia a 31-36 edge at halftime. Mexico used a 13-0 run to get the lead, 50-43, at the end of the third quarter. Russia kept struggling to score and Paul Stoll struck from downtown to seal the outcome, 65-56, with under 3 minutes left, qualifying to the semi-finals.
Quick transition play by Russia is finished with authority by Semen Antonov!
— FIBA (@FIBA) June 30, 2021