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Group:  B | 20.09.2008, 16:35h
Group:  B | 20.09.2008, 16:35h
93-92
23 - 1828 - 2719 - 2223 - 25
23 - 1828 - 2719 - 2223 - 25
Venue: Paredes (POR) |
Spectators: 1500 |
Referees: Daniel Hierrezuelo (ESP), Eddie Viator (FRA), Fabrizio Pizio (SUI)

GAME REPORT


Portuguese Shock Latvia For Third Straight Triumph

The amazing basketball story that is Portugal lives on after a 93-92 home upset over Latvia on Saturday.

The Baltic men, who had already clinched a place in next year's EuroBasket, lost the Group B qualifying game to their nemesis and now may end up with second place in the pool if FYR of Macedonia win their last Division A clash against Estonia later in the night.

Meanwhile, Moncho Lopez's Portugal have rebounded from an 0-3 start that had disaster written all over it to seal a place in next year's Additional Qualifying Round. Their 3-3 record will be good enough to compete for the one place that will still be on offer for EuroBasket 2009 in Poland.

In this contest, the Portuguese beat the Latvians at their own game by making an eye-popping 19 three-pointers from 36 attempts. They also had to maintain their poise after blowing a big second-half advantage.

Portugal led by 13 in the third quarter, only for the Latvians to hit back and move in front at 79-77 with 3:28 remaining on a three-ball from Kristaps Janicenoks.

Latvia would end up extending their advantage to 84-79 after Kristaps Valters buried a three, and made two free throws.

Jose Costa drilled three and following Valters' one of two effort at the charity stripe, Cunha struck from long range with 1:05 remaining to tie the game at 85-85.

Valters answered with a three for Latvia, only for Costa to reply again with a three-pointer to level the scores at 88-88.

Latvia's Andris Biedrins hit a jump shot and Valters followed an Elvis Evora turnover by making one of two at the line again to give Latvia a 91-88 edge with 29 seconds to play.

Portugal went down low to Evora and he scored with 17 seconds to go.

After Janicenoks' one of two effort at the line put Latvia on top at 92-90, Portugal's Miguel Miranda connected on his fifth three-ball of the game with six seconds to go for a 93-92 lead.

Latvia's Janis Blums turned the ball over to seal the triumph for the Portuguese.

Portugal stunned most observers with a terrific run to EuroBasket 2007 and once there, shocked Latvia in the final game in Group C to pip the Baltic side to the Quarterfinal Qualifying Round.

Once there, the team that was then coached by Valentyn Melnychuk surprised Israel before exiting the tournament.

From long range, where Portugal did most of their damage on Saturday, Costa was seven of 13, Miranda five of nine, Joao Santos three of three and Paolo Cunha a perfect two of two.

Lopez, the coach who engineered Spain's run to the EuroBasket 2003 final, replaced Melnychuk following his decision to leave and coach his native Ukraine.

To show how far Lopez's Portugal have come, they lost their first game against Latvia on September 10 in Riga 79-43.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Portugal vs. Latvia

Portuguese Coach Moncho Lopez:

"The last moments of the game were like a dream. We suffer a lot but we deserved this victory for all the developed work in the last months. I thank to all the players and all the group that worked with this team."

Latvia Coach Hermann Nenad Trajkovic:

"It was a game decided in the last minute. We missed three free throws and let them get three three-point shots when we shouldn't."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

44.6%

33/74
FG
M/A

55.1%

27/49

36.8%

14/38
FG2P
M/A

53.3%

16/30

52.8%

19/36
FG3P
M/A

57.9%

11/19

66.7%

8/12
FT
M/A

69.2%

27/39

29

13/16
RT
RO/RD

37

9/28

14

AS

9

7

TO

16

5

ST

5

2

BS

3

30

PF

17

93

Pts

92

PHOTO GALLERY

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Portugal

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Latvia