What a stunt!  Belgian Lions beat defending champion United States at 3x3 basketball World Cup

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The Belgian Lions also won their third game at the 3×3 Basketball World Cup in Antwerp 20-18 against the United States, after one extra period. The Antwerp Groenplaats exploded. Later in the evening they will play against Austria. Because the Austrians lost their first match of the day, the Lions are already certain of a group win and a corresponding place in the quarterfinals.

Werner Bourlez, Patrick Ceulemans

High visitor at the Groenplaats: basketball Emperor Willy Steveniers and Vrenz Bleijenbergh, among others, were present, Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever and Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Annelies Verlinden also attended the match.

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In a real thriller, the 2,000 fans fully supported the 3X3 Belgian Lions. The match evolved from 4-4 in a bit of a duel to 8-7 and 13-12 in favor of the Belgians. The Americans were athletically strong, but missed free throws. The Belgians got many mistakes and saw Bryan De Valck disappear for a while after an elbow bump and a wound to the nose (with a lot of blood). Just before that, De Valck had unpacked with a flashy dunk. He gave support to the strong inside playing Nick Celis.

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After regular time, an 18-18 score flashed on the scoreboard. In overtime it is to score two points first. The Americans made a mistake on Thibaut Vervoort and “Must See TV” got both free throws perfectly: 20-18.

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The fantastic 20-18 victory for the 3X3 Lions was immediately a fact and the Groenplaats exploded. “I really enjoyed it, but this is not good for the heart,” said Mayor Bart De Wever. Thibaut Vervoort beamed after the great performance of the 3X3 Belgian Lions. “America played hard, but I was still able to unpack a few times with two-pointers. Collectively we played great basketball and the fans did the rest. The incident with the American players? It was a foul foul on De Valck. He lay on the ground and received another kick. I no longer defended my teammate. We are here in our city. In Antwerp we don’t step aside,” Thibaut winked “Must See TV” Vervoort.

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Due to the loss of Austria (22-20 vs. Slovenia) later in the afternoon, the Lions are certain of a group win in group D and therefore a place in the quarterfinals. The final match against Austria is therefore no longer important. “We also want to win the fourth and final group match,” says Nick Celis. There is pressure for Austria. They must win or be eliminated.

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