Top 10 moments from the FIBA Continental Cups 2024/25 Qualifiers Window

27 Feb 2024

Greece - Czechia - Peace and Friendship Stadium

With 90 games played over days and plenty of moments to remember, the start of the road to the FIBA Continental Cups didn’t disappoint. From a sold-out Peace and Friendship Stadium welcoming legend Vassilis Spanoulis as Greece coach to the Akatsuki getting their first joy in 88 years against China, the first window en route to Continental Cups didn’t disappoint. 

Relive the top 10 memorable moments from the world of basketball with Courtside 1891. 

10 – Madagascar get their first-ever win at the FIBA AfroBasket Qualifying Tournament


Alphonse Ravonimbola could not hide his happiness as the Madagascar national team obtained their first-ever win at the FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers over Central Africa Republic. 

With the CAF leading by as much as 11 points in the third quarter, the Madagascan national team had to work hard to get into the lead and eventually win the game. 

Elly Randriamampionona was the hero in Cairo as he produced an impressive 22-point, 7-assist performance to boost his country to a historical win. 

Rewatch Madagascar’s historical night on Courtside 1891. 

9 – Upsets all over the qualifiers

From America to Asia, not forgetting Europe, this first window in 2024 has not been short of upsets. Statistically, North Macedonia pulled off one of the hardest feats by beating Poland, ranked 44 places ahead of the Balcanic team in the FIBA World Rankings. Bulgaria also pulled off an impressive upset over world champions Germany, while Belgium had the upper hand over Spain. 

Denmark and Estonia respectively stunned Georgia and Lithuania, reminding everyone that no one is safe in the qualifiers and that well-organized teams have a shot against the bigger teams. 

Over in the Americas, Chile and Cuba pulled off similar upsets by getting the better of AmeriCup champions Argentina and United States. A great sign for the game of basketball. 

8 – Cuba basketball’s marquee win 

Cuba secured their first-ever victory against the United States in any FIBA competition as their first-quarter 26-10 lead was enough to keep the Americans at bay ahead of their historical win. Pedro Bombino was the hero with 19 points while Maccabi Tel Aviv center Jasiel Rivero added 11 points to the Cuban cause. 

Extreme equilibrium after two games in Group D, with Puerto Rico, USA, Cuba and Bahamas all sitting with one win and one loss apiece. 

7 – Nisre Zouzoua goes all the way in the clutch against Egypt

Al Ahly guard Amr Gendy had 30 points, 10 assists, and the basketball in his hands with Egypt down one and one possession to go. The script seemed written for the guard to win it for The Pharaohs in front of his own fans. 

However, Nisre Zouzoua didn’t like the script: the Massachusetts native picked Gendy’s pocket at the key and went all the way to finish at the rim at the buzzer, securing a clutch win for Cote D’Ivoire at the FIBA AfroBasket 2025 qualifiers. 

Relive the game with the Cote d’Ivoire vs Egypt highlights. 

6 – the Peace and Friendship Stadium welcomes Spanoulis as Greece coach

A sold-out Peace and Friendship Stadium, the stadium where Vassilis Spanoulis’ name became legend, welcomed the former Piraeus superstar in the role of Greece coach against Czechia. 

His team did not disappoint with a 72-64 win over Czechia, propelled by Thomas Walkup’s 16 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds and 5 steals to seal the win on Kill Bill’s Greece coaching debut. 

5 – Japan celebrate first win in 88 years against China


Breaking an 88-year-old record does not happen every day. After hosting the FIBA World Cup 2023 and securing a spot at the Paris games, the Akatsuki overcome one of their last taboos and beat China in front of a sold-out crowd at the Ariake Coliseum. 

Their last success over their continental rivals came at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Japan’s patience was a key factor as the resilient Akatsuki overcame a first-quarter 11-point deficit to take the W against Sasa Djordjevic’s team. 

4 – Ricky Rubio is back!

In a bittersweet but emotion-packed evening, the Pabellón Príncipe Felipe saw Ricky Rubio’s basketball return. Most welcome news for basketball fans around the world as the new Barcelona FC player stepped back onto the court in Spain’s start to the EuroBasket 2022 title defense against Latvia. Unfortunately, La Roja couldn’t cap a memorable night with a winning start as the Latvians came on top once again. 

3 – Tarık Biberovic saves Türkiye


After missing out on the Paris Olympics, Türkiye risked a 0-2 start at the FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers at the Sinan Erdem Dome. 

With visitors Iceland up 74-75 and the ball in Ergin Ataman’s players' hands, Tarık Biberovic caught a pass from Fenerbahce teammate Mahmutoglu and converted a difficult turnaround fadeaway jumper to save the day in Istanbul. 

2 – Who's going to stop Latvia?

Luca Banchi’s Latvia truly are a force to be reckoned with. The team that only lost to eventual World Champion Germany 81-79 at the FIBA World Cup 2023 started a perfect window with wins over Spain and Slovakia. 

What’s more, Latvia are co-hosts for FIBA EuroBasket 2025, meaning their qualification is already assured. Despite that, Banchi’s players, also orphan of one of their World Cup stars in Arturs Zagars, won’t be complacent, and got the wins in Zaragoza and Riga, making it 20 wins and 3 losses in their last 23 games. 

Who is going to stop the Latvians? 

1 – Basketball Crowds all over the world

From the Ariake Coliseum to the Medjan in Bosnia and Herzegovina, crowds celebrated the start of the road to the FIBA Continental Cups 2025 with great atmosphere and filled up arena after arena. With four games being attended by over 10000 fans at the EuroBasket qualifiers and a sold-out Ariake Coliseum witnessing Japan’s historic win over China, this window highlighted the global dimension of basketball and the fans’ appetite for international basketball.