Angola's Leonel Paulo Reacts to Gilas Pilipinas Team

Photo credit: FIBA /

Leonel Ditutala Paulo has represented Angola so many times on the international basketball stage that he is not shy to admit that the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China will be his country's toughest challenge. [via]

The 6'6" forward Leonel Ditutala Paulo delivered an average of 6.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 steals for Angola in the African Qualifiers. The 11-time African champions Angola had 9 wins and 3 losses and finished only second to Tunisia in Group E in the 2019 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers.

Drawn in Group D, world #39 Angola starts its FIBA World Cup 2019 campaign against #4 Serbia on August 31, then #13 Italy on September 2 and will play #31 Philippines on September 4 in the group stage. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the 2nd Round.


"Obviously, Serbia is a great team with many quality players and coaches. They are the favourite in our group, and it will be very tough for us, but we need to send a message from the start of the tournament. We have faced them before [at FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2016] and we know what to expect."

"We'll take our chances against Italy - who like Serbia counts on number of NBA, Euroleague and some top European Leagues players - but in basketball anything is possible if you self-believe."

"As for the Philippines, they too have some good players, including Jordan Clarkson and Andray Blatche. They are from being the toughest opponents, but we'll see."

"I still believe that this World Cup is our biggest challenge in years. But I remain confident we can achieve good results. We want to return to the Olympics - but I must admit that other African teams like Nigeria and Tunisia are also well placed for a good World Cup campaign,"

"Will they be better than us and secure Africa's automatic spot for Tokyo? I don't know. Those two countries are well coached, but I trust coach Will Voigt will be able to put us in a good position to have a great World Cup. We know coach Voigt's philosophy better now." Leonel Paulo told FIBA.

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