|Guard Sam Van Rossom led a balanced Belgium attack with 14 points|
Belgium stand on the brink of a place at EuroBasket 2011 after picking up a hard fought 68-63 success against Portugal but will have to wait that little bit longer before they can officially punch their ticket to Lithuania.
Not that mattered to the 3,500 fans celebrating in Antwerp and who will be itching to check out flights and hotels now their team have avoided a major banana skin and moved to within touching distance of securing their spot.
It was however far from easy going against a rejuvenated Portugal team buoyed by their shock win over Poland and having been the whipping boys of the group, were suddenly hoping to secure back to back wins.
They certainly showcased their new found confidence when they opened up with two scores from the arc by Nuno Cortez and Joao Santos to give the home team plenty to ponder.
Belgium did respond and shrugged off their slow start to move into an 18-15 lead by the end of the opening period, finishing the quarter in style with a big dunk by Axel Hervelle.
Both teams then lost their momentum and in a rather scrappy ten minutes ahead of half-time, could only share 22 points between them meaning Belgium were still ahead by three at the interval.
While the pace picked up again offensively when the teams took their place back on the court for the second-half, neither could find the kind of run to really make a big impact.
Belgium always maintained control and threatened to storm away but the dangerous and prolific duo of Heshimu Kenyatta Evans and Carlos Andrade helped the visitors remain in touch.
In fact it was a triple by the latter to start the final period which brought Portugal to within one point at 50-49 while with just under five minutes remaining, his cohort Evans converted successive baskets to shock the home crowd and give the visitors a 61-60 lead.
However, Portugal would only manage one further basket in the last four minutes as a relieved Belgium had Marcus Faison and Sam Van Rossom to thank for getting them across the finishing line.
Van Rossom led Belgium with 14 points while Evans and Andrade combined for 45 points for Portugal.
"I would like to congratulate Belgium. They have earned their position and for me they are the favourites in our Group. We were well handicapped as we had only nine players. We did well in defense, but offensively we came up short."