17 February, 2020
31 August, 2021
8 Davis Bertans (LAT)
to read

Job done: Latvia first team to advance after improving to perfect 3-0 start


MUNICH (Germany) - Latvia are the first team to advance from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Pre-Qualifiers Second Round after securing a top-two finish in their group with a game to spare.

Three wins from three for Latvia ensures they move onto the Qualifiers later this year with their 79-69 success against Romania. Rihards Lomazs had a game-high 17 points as Latvia moved clear with a 30-13 second period - leading by as many as 20 in the contest.

Latvia welcomed back Washington Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans into the fold - alongside older brother Dairis Bertans and veteran guard Janis Strelnieks as they assembled a strong roster on home soil in Riga.

They set the tone in the opening game with a convincing 108-72 triumph over Romania having raced out of the blocks with the first 21 points of the game. It was a balanced scoring attack in the rout for Latvia as six players reached double figures

The weekend double-header was complete on Sunday as Latvia followed up with a 92-83 success against Belarus. The Bertans brothers combined for 39 points in the win as the hosts needed a strong finish having trailed by two points heading into the final quarter.

Meanwhile, Belarus hold the upperhand to take the other spot through from the group as they recorded a 77-72 victory over Romania, on Monday. Kiryl Sitnik top scored with 20 points as a 17-11 final quarter was enough to take the win.

They could still win the group, but will advance with any win against Latvia when the two teams meet again on Thursday. Belarus have another chance - should they lose - as they round out the group's action with their second fixture against Romania with a win, or defeat by less than their aforementioned five-point margin of victory sealing qualification.

The action from the other three groups - in Matosinhos, Podgorica and Skopje - gets underway on Thursday as six of the remaining nine teams commence battle.