The 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers finally drew to a close on Monday night and the last three remaining slots have been filled. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic completed the seven-team slots allotted for the Americas via different routes. Montenegro played their hearts out to bag the last ticket coming out of the European qualifiers.
Puerto Rico punched their ticket after defeating Uruguay 65-61. This will be their 14th World Cup appearance since 1959. They trailed their guests early in the first quarter but turned on the heat and intensity in the second quarter to turn the tides in their favor. It was a back-and-forth game as Uruguay did not want to go gentle into the good night, fighting Puerto Rico for every possession.
The Dominican Republic dropped their final game in the qualifiers to Brazil 71-63. Despite the loss, the 19 points they managed to secure and goal average edged them over Uruguay to become the best fourth team from groups E and F.
Last but not the least, the humble nation of Montenegro, 600,000 strong, claimed the last ticket out of Europe for China. They fell 80-74 to Latvia but controlled the point gap enough to book their first-ever trip to the FIBA World Cup, thanks to an 8-point advantage in their last game. Derek Needham’s 22 points help trumpet Montenegro’s laudable effort.
Here is the full 32-team field for the 2019 FIBA World Cup (By Region):
- Host: China
- Africa: Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia
- Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA, Venezuela
- Asia: Australia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines
- Europe: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey