Luka Doncic, Slovenia hold first practice in Manila ahead of Fiba World Cup quarterfinals


Slovenia’s Luka Doncic and Germany’s Dennis Schroder in the Fiba World Cup. -FIBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The biggest stars outside Team USA have landed in Manila for the final phase of the Fiba World Cup.

And there’s none brighter than Luka Doncic, who led Slovenia to the Fiba World Cup quarterfinals after a spectacular campaign in the first two rounds of the global meet.

Joining Doncic and Slovenia are Canada—bannered by another NBA superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander—and powerhouse Germany, anchored by Toronto Raptors guard Dennis Schroder.

Slovenia reached the knockout stage after booting out Australia in the second round last Friday in Okinawa, Japan.

Behind Doncic, the Slovenians have emerged as one of the favorites in the tournament, with only one loss to show in five outings on Sunday.

Doncic, however, refused to say they’re one of the top teams in the tournament.

Luka Doncic Slovenia Fiba World Cup

Luka Doncic in the Fiba World Cup. -FIBA PHOTO

“I don’t know who’s favorite, probably USA or Canada,” said Doncic, who arrived in Manila from Japan on Monday afternoon less than 24 hours after a 100-71 loss to the Germans.

“I don’t know where we’re gonna land in the end but we’re gonna give everything every game,” added Doncic, who’s regarded as the brightest star, in this World Cup.

The Slovenians immediately went to work in practice Monday night just a few hours after landing in Manila.

Slovenia and Canada figure in a titanic clash on Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena for a spot in the semifinal. Canada is coming off a thrilling 88-85 comeback win over defending champion Spain.

Schroder and Germany, meanwhile, look to put an end on Latvia’s fairytale run in the first game at 4:45 p.m.

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