Brazil seals date with Gilas as Jeremiah Hill's game-winner sends Cameroon to FIBA OQT semis too

Cameroon celebrates after booking the last semifinal seat in the FIBA OQT in Riga. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Brazil would not mind conceding what would be the game-winning bucket for Cameroon as they kept the final margin close enough to keep the top seed in Group B of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Arena Riga.

Brazil fought back from 24 points down and even had a chance to force overtime only that Jeremiah Hill hit the go-ahead three to give Cameroon a 77-74 win and the last spot in the semifinals early Friday (Philippine Time).

Only needing a win or at least to just keep the game close to call down the stretch, Brazil, which entered the game at the top spot in their group, suddenly found itself on the verge of outright elimination as Cameroon opened the second quarter on a 16-0 run for a 45-27 lead midway through the period.

Cameroon eventually extended its lead to 24, 56-32, with exactly three minutes before halftime, but Brazil's 7-0 run to end the first half sparked what would be a slow climb back up.

Cameroon still tried to pull away after scoring on back-to-back baskets midway through the fourth for a 74-65 lead, but Brazil went on a 9-0 run that forced a 74-all deadlock with 1:15 to go.

Hill, though, hit a triple with 57 seconds left to put Cameroon back up, 77-74.

Vitor Benite tried to tie the game once more, but he missed his potential game-tying three.

Despite that, Cameroon, which still tried to steal the top seed away from Brazil, misfired from deep in the end.

Hill finished with 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting on threes, six rebounds, six assists, and one steal for Cameroon, whose win eliminated Montenegro in the process.

Brice Bidias added 15 points, two rebounds, and two blocks for second-seeded Cameroon, which will take on Group A's top-seed Latvia in the semifinals.

Leo Meindl had 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal for Brazil, which formally set a date with Gilas Pilipinas in their own semifinal duel.

On Thursday, Gilas, like Brazil, had to climb back from the brink of early elimination to book their place in the semis, knocking out Georgia even if they won.

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