12 - 20
August 2023
9 Mateusz Ponitka (POL)
to read

OPQT's: Semi-Finals set as Poland progress to last four with Bosnia and Herzegovina

GLIWICE/ TALLINN (Poland / Estonia) - Co-hosts Poland are unbeaten and marching into the last four, where they will be joined by Bosnia and Herzegovina who swept aside Hungary to also make the Semi-Finals.

Here's your wrap of how the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament played out on the last day of Group Phase action in Gliwice.

Son-of-art Pluta helps hosts progress with win against Portugal

While the other co-hosts in Tallinn pulled up a late miracle against Israel in order to progress, Poland completed the perfect path in Gliwice with three wins out of three as they finally outlasted Portugal 78-65. The outcome is the same as in the Estonian capital - the party is just getting started, and now the co-hosts will face each other in the Semi-Finals.

Alongside the usual Mateusz Ponitka and Aleksander Balcerowski, this was the night to shine for both Igor Milicic and Andrzej Pluta. The former had 13 points and 6 rebounds, the latter contributed with the same scoring amount while also adding 8 assists.

Despite the expected elimination prior to the tournament starting, the Portuguese national team never surrender and went beyond expectations after starting the competition as the 8th-seeded team in the Power Rankings. This was still a brave collective performance from them.

Bosnia and Herzegovina blow out Hungary to set up Semi-Final with Israel 

Basketball is all about making statements, and what better way to do it than going to the locker room at halftime up by 29 points? Because that’s exactly what Bosnia and Herzegovina did against Hungary as they silenced all doubters with their huge 103-78 win.

It meant they closed out Group B right behind Poland with a 2-1 record. Dzanan Musa the leader of his national team with 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in the crushing triumph, along with his teammates will now face Israel, who finished on top in Group A. Jusuf Nurkic added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Amar Alibegovic helped by scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 boards.

On the other hand, nobody was really expecting Hungary to overcome all odds and continue playing in the Gliwice Arena after August 16, but their winless trajectory can be described as disappointing at the very least. David Vojvoda closed the 2023 FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament with a losing effort of 17 points, while Zoltan Perl stepped up only when the game was already done and ended with 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Top Performers

Dzanan Musa was the most anticipated player to watch at the 2023 FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament following his alien display at FIBA EuroBasket 2022. He landed on planet earth against Hungary by delivering the highest performance efficiency valuation of the day at 33.

Zoltan Perl always stood up for Hungary despite the difficulties his national team has faced ever since the beginning of the tournament. He gave his all once again against Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, it wasn’t enough despite a team-high 21 points.

Jusuf Nurkic may have passed the Bosnian national team leading torch to Dzanan Musa, but still knows how to steal the show in games like these: he came out for a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, bringing all of his experience under the basket.

Andrzej Pluta carries the exact name of his father, who played for the Polish national team for 10 years. After seeing his soon hooping against Portugal, he must be more than proud: best of his team at 23 years of age with a performance efficiency valuation of 19.

Igor Milicic had a similar contribution in terms of numbers, considering the slight difference of this being only his fourth-ever appearance for Poland. Once again, he’s named exactly like somebody else relevant to this group: the head coach, who trusted him at 20.

Photo of the Day

"Stand up, young fella: there's a game to massively bring home" - 'Papa' Jusuf Nurkic to Luka Garza during the final game of their Group Phase campaign against Hungary. That's the present and future of Bosnia and Herzegovina frontcourt supremacy right there.

Highlight of the Day

If we consider the Gliwice Arena his office and its court his comfy desk, running the floor in style must be Mateusz Ponitka’s favorite way of taking care of business.