TOKYO (Japan) - Powerhouse Latvia thwarted Netherlands' bid for an automatic semi-final berth with a tense 22-18 victory in the final men's pool game on day four of the 3x3 Olympic competition.
Latvia finished with a 4-3 record to finish third in the pool stage behind unbeaten Serbia and Belgium, while Netherlands (4-3) missed their opportunity of a semi-final spot and will have to go through the quarter-finals to extend their Olympic run.
The No.3 seed controlled much of the blockbuster contest before holding off a late Dutch rally.
Latvia play host Japan in the quarter-final, while Netherlands meet Russian Olympic Committee.
Krumins gets a confidence boost
Medal fancies Latvia have had a sluggish pool stage marked by sniper Edgars Krumins' radar being wayward.
But he started confidently and nailed an early two much to the cheers of Latvia's contingent in the stands knowing the importance of a firing Krumins.
But Dimeo van der Horst erased Latvia's lead with a couple of twos in a fast and furious start.
Latvia's superheroes take over
In another reminder that he's no sidekick, Nauris Miezis restored Latvia's edge with a purple patch where he caught fire from deep then showed his driving abilities punctuated by a strong finish at the rim.
His partner in crime Karlis Lasmanis then gained control of the cape with a spectacular step back two while being fouled as Latvia gained control.
The unsung hero
With victory in sight, Latvia suddenly got nervous and went through a dry spell as Netherlands launched an unlikely comeback.
But it was big man Agnis Cavars - so long the team's glue guy - who was calm under pressure and hit a two to seal Latvia's win.
Cavars, who is usually stationed close to the basket, hit a trio of two-pieces to be the difference in the contest.