Picking up from where he left up, Andres Feliz delivered yet another solid performance as the Dominican Republic survived Angola with a 75-67 victory in the Group A preliminaries of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Feliz, a deadshot gunner, tallied 17 points for the Dominicans, who shackled the Angolans and held them scoreless in the crucial stretch to seal the victory.
Prior to this victory, the Dominicans beat Gilas Pilipinas, 87-81, and Italy, 87-82, to complete a sweep of the first round.
Feliz nearly had a perfect game as he made 6-of-7 shots from the field while pulling down six rebounds.
Veteran guard Victor Liz was also impressive as he contributed 13 markers on to of eight boards.
But the Dominicans’ top gun in three-time National Basketball Association All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves was unusually quiet.
After erupting for 26 points and 10 rebounds against the Filipinos and 24 points and 11 rebounds against the Italians, Towns was held to only eight points and two rebounds as he battled foul troubles and the Angolans’
pesky defense led by Bruno Fernando, who fouled out with more than five minutes left.
“We finished first in a tough group. It’s just like what I said before, my players gave their best. We played without him (Towns) and the team made a lot of effort,” Dominican Republic mentor Nestor “Che” Garcia said.
“We respect Angola. They are athletic and they want to qualify. For us, it was difficult playing against them.”
Angola, which put Gilas Pilipinas to the brink via an 80-70-win last Sunday, even led by three points at one stretch and stayed in the thick of the fight with Silvio Sousa scoring on a breakaway slam that knotted the count
at 65 in the final 2:52 mark.
But the Dominicans put the clamps down on the Angolans with Liz capped a big 10-0 run down the stretch to preserve the victory.