DUBAI (2014 FIBA U17 World Championship) - The field is finally set for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship as China, Philippines and Japan became the last three teams to qualify for the third edition of FIBA's youth tournament, to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 7 to 17 August 2014.
The Asian trio will join organisers UAE; the African pair of Angola and Egypt; the Americas quartet of two-time defending champions USA, Argentina, Canada and Puerto Rico; Oceania representatives and 2012 silver medalists Australia; and the European quintet of Spain, Serbia, Greece, Italy and France.
The 2014 edition of the tournament will have four more teams than in Kaunas in 2012. Seven teams will be making their FIBA U17 World Championship debut: United Arab Emirates, Angola, Greece, Italy, Japan, Philippines and Puerto Rico.
The USA, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt and Spain are the seven teams that are making their third appearances in the tournament that originated in 2010.
The United States won the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship by knocking off Argentina 94-48 in the Final with Malik Newman winning the tournament MVP award. Canada beat Puerto Rico in the Third-Place Game.
Spain collected their third U16 European title and first since 2009 as they beat Serbia 65-63 in overtime in the Final. Serbian guard Stefano Peno was named the MVP of the event. Greece eased past Italy 68-50 in the Third-Place Game while France beat Croatia 59-48 in the game for fifth place - and the last European berth for Dubai.
China collected their third straight gold medal at the FIBA Asia U16 level with an 85-78 win over Philippines with Fu Hao leading the way with 22 points, 18 rebounds and four assists. It was China’s 26th consecutive win in the competition but the first time by single digits.
Japan, who knocked off two-time silver medalists Korea in the Quarter-Finals, beat Chinese Taipei 95-72 to secure the bronze medal.
Taking the cue from their senior team winning AfroBasket 2013, the Angolan U16 team ended Egypt's run of two consecutive U16 titles by beating them 75-66 in the Final. Egypt, whose Mohamed Abdelrahman was named MVP, had beaten Angola 82-53 in group play.
Australia booked their third berth to the U17 Worlds by winning two of three games against New Zealand in the FIBA Oceania U16 series. The leaders for the Aussies were Dejan Vasiljevic, who averaged 19.3 points and Abiola Akintola, who chipped in 11.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.