25 August, 2023
10 September
USA - Winners
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The Best of World Cup 1954: USA take first title over Brazil at Maracanazinho; Philippines historic third place

MIES (Switzerland) - The second FIBA Basketball World Cup was held in Rio de Janeiro in the brand new Maracanazinho stadium. USA, represented by the Peoria Caterpillars, ended up claiming the trophy, winning the decisive last game against hosts Brazil. Finishing third behind USA and Brazil were the Philippines, who were making their World Cup debut and still hold the distinction as the only Asian country to reach the podium as of 2023.  

The best team: USA

Rank Team W-L
1. USA 9-0
2. Brazil 8-1
3. Philippines 6-3
4. France 4-5
5. Formosa 3-6
6. Uruguay 4-5
7. Canada 3-6
8. Israel 2-7
9. Paraguay 3-2
10. Chile 3-2
11. Yugoslavia 1-4
12. Peru 0-5

The World Cup, which was known as the FIBA World Championship at the time, included 12 participants: hosts Brazil; 1952 Olympic champions United States; the top four qualified teams from the South American Championship (Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay); three participants from the FIBA EuroBasket (France, Israel and Yugoslavia); and invited teams from Americas (Canada) and Asia (Philippines and Formosa).

The teams were divided into four groups of three teams with the top two finishers reaching the eight-team final round group. USA, Brazil and Uruguay all won their respective groups with 2-0 records and Formosa and Israel advanced from a three-way tie in Group D.

The Philippines only dropped games to USA and Brazil to finish the final group stage with a 5-2 record - two wins better than fourth-placed France. The final game of the group stage also was the decisive game between USA and Brazil, won 62-41 by the United States.   

The best player: Kirby Minter MVP

United States team - Kirby Minter No. 12, Joe Stratton No. 24

Kirby Minter of the USA received Most Valuable Player honors as he led the Americans in scoring with 11.1 points, including 16.3 points in the first four games.

Minter was joined on All-Tournament Team by his USA teammate Joe Stratton, who had 11 points in the decisive game against Brazil; the Brazilian duo of Zenny de Azevedo "Algodao" and Wlamir Marques; and tournament leading scorer Oscar Moglia of Uruguay.

The best story: Philippines legend Loyzaga carries debutant to Asia's greatest-ever finish

The Philippines were one of three invited teams and the Asian team showed the world they were worthy of the spot in Rio de Janeiro. They won their first-ever World Cup game over Paraguay and then lost to Brazil in first-round play.

In the first game of the Final Round against USA, the Philippines trailed 25-22 at halftime and led 31-26 at the start of the second half before USA eventually pulled away for a 56-43 victory. The 13-point difference was the second-closest result for any team against USA in the tournament.

The Philippines ended up beating Formosa, Israel, Canada, France and Uruguay for third place - a result that as of 2023 still ranks a the best for an Asian team in the World Cup. And legend Carlos Loyzaga, aka "The Big Difference", led the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game.

The best team from the previous World Cup?

Argentina, World Champions in 1950, did not have a chance to defend their title as they did not participate in 1953 South American Championship. It remained the only time a champion did not reach the subsequent World Cup until Yugoslavia in 1994 due to sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The best game : USA vs Uruguay

USA had rolled to victories by 22 points, 22, 13 and 21 points heading into their fifth game against Uruguay. They faced a physical battle from the start with 60 fouls called and they could not handle the legendary Oscar Moglia and Martin Lara who both scored 23 points. Uruguay trailed 30-26 at halftime and were down just 49-47 with 9 minutes remaining. USA finished strong to take the win - their only victory by fewer than 13 points - thanks to Bertram Born scoring 15 points and Richard Retherford adding 14 points.

The Maracanazinho stadium in Rio de Janeiro

The best performance: 37 points for Carl Ridd

The best performance in the tournament went Canada's Carl Ridd, who poured in a tournament-high 37 points in an 83-76 loss to the Philippines in the Final Round. Lauro Mumar of the Philippines scored 24 points in the win. Ridd ended up second in the scoring race at 18.2 points - mainly because he had been held scoreless by USA in the game before the outburst against the Philippines.

Stats leaders

Player (country) Points Per Game
Oscar Aldo Moglia (Uruguay) 18.7
Carl Ridd (Canada) 18.2
Rodolfo Salas (Peru) 18.0
Carlos Loyzaga (Philippines) 16.4
Victor Badria (Chile) 16.4
Aristides Isusi (Paraguay) 16.0
Jean Paul Beugnot (France) 12.0
Adesio Lombardo (Uruguay) 11.5
Borislav Curcic (Yugoslavia) 11.4
Kirby Minter (USA) 11.1
Amaury Pasos (Brazil) 11.1