The 2019 FIBA World Cup is now well underway, and the second round of the tournament will soon kick into effect after a thrilling opening group stage. FIBA's decision to expand the initial pool of teams from 24 to 32 was initially met with skepticism, although the new format has proved to be a success as it has allowed for some intriguing first-time matchups.
Meanwhile, an expanded field has allowed teams to quickly gain momentum, and the likes of Serbia, Spain, and France have all excelled in the early days of the tournament. With the conclusion of Day 5, the tournament has also lost several teams, with the host country China among those eliminated following a 72-59 loss to Venezuela in Beijing.
Nevertheless, there were once again stand out performers on all sides during another excellent day of basketball, and here we will look at the top 5 individual performances from Day 5 at the 2019 World Cup.
#5 Marc Gasol - Spain
Spain won the World Cup back in 2006, although the current roster is not considered a major threat for this year's title. However, the Spaniards celebrated their third successive victory thanks to a 73-65 win over Iran after finishing with a 16-3 run to avoid a major scare. Marc Gasol was sharp despite some doubts over his fitness and led Spain with 16 points.
The Toronto Raptors star struggled with his perimeter shooting (1/5) but found form in his mid-range game to contribute some much-needed points to a struggling Spanish team. With point guard Ricky Rubio struggling for the first time in the competition, Gasol also took over at times, contributing three assists to his teammates.
His presence at the defensive end was also vital to keeping Iran quiet in the final quarter, and this was Gasol's best performance of the competition so far.