South Sudan still hopes for Top 16 entry as classification game vs. Gilas looms

Coach Royal Ivey and South Sudan can now hope for a China win against Puerto Rico to make it to the Top 16 round unless China pulls off a miraculous blowout. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Despite the blowout loss to Serbia on Wednesday night, South Sudan still has an inside look at making the upper bracket rounds of the FIBA World Cup.

However, it depends on the result of the last Group B game between China and Puerto Rico later Wednesday.

That is why South Sudan coach Royal Ivey said that he will first monitor the China-Puerto Rico game before making a comment about facing its next opponent, either against the Dominican Republic on Friday night in the upper bracket or against Gilas Pilipinas on Thursday night in the lower bracket.

South Sudan goes to the Top 16 if China beats Puerto Rico by 35 points or less. Otherwise, that is, either Puerto Rico wins or China surprisingly wins by 36 or more, South Sudan falls into the classification phase, needing to play Gilas in the tail end of a back-to-back.

"You gotta ask that question by 10:30 [p.m.] If China wins, we might be in," Ivey said when asked about the potential showdown against Gilas in the lower bracket games.

Naturalized guard Carlik Jones, however, rued the missed chance to clinch the Round of 16 spot by their own hands, letting Serbia dominate them early on en route to the 115-83 rout.

"I wish we could have handled business tonight and we could have got in on our own, so now, we have to rely on another team to win and get it done for us. But you'll never know how it goes. Hopefully, we get in and we get to play another game," the Chicago Bulls player said.

On the other hand, Sunday Dech also conceded to the fact that South Sudan now has to rely on China to make it to the Top 16.

"At the end of the day, it's out of our control now. We would have loved to get the win to keep it in our control, but that didn't happen. So we'll see what happens to China, and wherever the chips fall, we'll be ready for them," said Dech, Kai Sotto's former teammate with the Australian NBL's Adelaide 36ers.

For now, South Sudan is in a waiting game.

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