Sports

Luka Doncic, Slovenia head to Olympic qualifying semifinals. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece await

Luka Doncic and Slovenia still have Olympic hopes. And so does the Philippines, much to its own surprise.

Doncic had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Slovenia beat New Zealand 104-78 on Thursday to clinch a semifinal spot in the Olympic qualifying tournament at Piraeus, Greece. Slovenia needed to win by at least 10 points to make the semifinals.

Slovenia’s opponent on Saturday is Greece, meaning it’ll be Doncic and fellow NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo leading their squads — with the winner advancing to Sunday’s final with a berth in the Paris Olympics at stake, and the loser eliminated.

Josh Nebo had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Slovenia. Shea Ili led New Zealand with 28 points.

The matchups for Saturday’s semifinals are taking shape.

At Valencia, Spain — Finland vs. Spain; Bahamas vs. Lebanon.

At Piraeus, Greece — Slovenia vs. Greece; Croatia vs. Dominican Republic.

At Riga, Latvia — Brazil vs. Philippines; Cameroon vs. Latvia.

At San Juan, Puerto Rico — Lithuania vs. Italy or Puerto Rico; Italy or Puerto Rico vs. Mexico.

The finals at all four sites are Sunday, and those four winners go to the Paris Olympics.

The Philippines lost but advanced to Saturday’s semifinals of their tournament in Riga, Latvia, anyway. That created a bit of an issue; the team had flights home scheduled for Friday.

“I guess we’re going to have to move them back a little bit,” Philippines coach Tim Cone said. “That’s how surprised we are to be here and talking to you guys. It’s the first time I’ve felt good about losing.”

Georgia needed to win by at least 19 points to have any chance of advancing.

Sandro Mamukelashvili led Georgia with 26 points and Goga Bitadze finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Justin Brownlee led all scorers with 28 points for the Philippines, adding eight rebounds and eight assists as well.

Down by 12 early in the fourth, Finland finished the game on a 25-12 run to keep its Olympic hopes alive and reach the semifinals.

Mikael Jantunen scored 20 for Finland, which got 18 from Alexander Madsen; those two players combined to shoot 12 for 13 from the floor.

A.J. Slaughter had 21 points and Jeremy Sochan added 20 for Poland, which was eliminated.

At Piraeus, Antetokounmpo got the day off and Greece rolled into the semifinals anyway.

Konstantinos Mitoglou and Georgios Papagiannis each had 16 points for Greece, which got 15 from Kostas Popanikolaou.

Ahmed Metwaly scored 22 for Egypt, which was eliminated.

At Riga, Cameroon won and advanced, Brazil lost and won its group anyway, and Montenegro really lost without even playing.

Jeremiah Hill led Cameroon with 22 points. Cameroon needed to win to advance to Saturday’s semifinals in Latvia; had it lost, Montenegro would have reached the semifinals.

Leo Meindl topped Brazil with 19 points. All Brazil had to do to win the group was win the game or lose by no more than six points; had Brazil lost by 15 or more, it would have been eliminated and Montenegro would have advanced.

Omari Spellman scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Lebanon moved into the semifinals of the qualifier at Valencia, Spain.

Karim Zeinoun added 15 for the winners, including a personal 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter when he turned a game that was tied at 49 into one in which Lebanon led 56-49 — and it wouldn’t trail again.

Gerson Goncalves scored 13 and Bruno Fernando added 12 for Angola, which was eliminated.

At San Juan, Puerto Rico, Paul Stoll scored 23 points and added 11 assists, and Mexico erased a nine-point deficit in the second half to earn a semifinal spot.

Joshua Ibarra scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Mexico, which outscored Ivory Coast 24-12 in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Nisre Zouzoua and Vafessa Fofana each scored 16 for Ivory Coast.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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