The Utah Jazz saw two of their very own go after it at the FIBA World Cup as Simone Fontecchio and Jordan Clarkson put on a valiant display.
The Utah Jazz saw two of their FIBA Five collide in a make-or-break game on Tuesday. Team Italy, anchored by Jazz roleplayer Simone Fontecchio, had to beat the Philippines and the Jazz’s best guard Jordan Clarkson. The Philippines had to win to have a hope of slinking past Angola and into the second slot behind the Dominican Republic. The Italians just needed a win and they’d advanced.
But they needed to beat a Philippines team that, despite not having a lot of talent, was a Clarkson foul-out from beating the Dominicans. It was not going to be an easy out and neither team was going to just roll over for the other.
And looking at the highlights and box score, it was clear to see that both teams were looking for the win. With a 13-point lead starting the fourth quarter, the Italians looked like they were in for a smooth outing, but that wouldn’t be the case as the Philippines mounted a comeback and while they weren’t able to close the gap to take the lead, they did end up losing by just seven.
The 90-83 win by Team Italy has seen them head off to the second round to try and continue their FIBA World Cup hopes. It has also established that Simone Fontecchio may in fact be the heir apparent to current Italian legend, Danillo Gallinari.
In over 30 minutes of action, Fontecchio had 18 points and six rebounds. His efficiency wasn’t there, shooting below 30%, but the Italian forward did get to the line a few times, hitting 5 of 6. Clarkson had a bit better of a night, shooting 40%, but his efficiency wasn’t great either.
He did have 23 points, with seven rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes of action, so it wasn’t like he wasn’t trying everything he could to carry the team. He was.
Both men did their best and at the end of the game, the two Utah Jazz teammates were seen embracing one another.
Italy moves on to the second round of Group Play, while the Philippines will be part of the group play to determine seeding.