By John Rammas / firstname.lastname@example.org
After celebrating the big win of his national team over Serbia in the EuroBasket Round of 16 with his players, coach Gianmarco Pozzecco also shared his joy with Greece superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Pozzecco found Antetokounmpo in the corridors of the Mercedes Benz arena and jumped on him to give him a big hug. “He’s such a nice person. I hugged him like this and I kissed him,” Pozzecco told Eurohoops. “Really nice guy.”
At the beginning of the second half, the referees gave a second technical foul to the bench of the Italian team for protests. Pozzecco, who had already received a technical foul in the first quarter, was thus ejected.
“My players took the technical foul,” Pozzecco said. “I love them. When I was going out, I was crying. I went to Sasa Danilovic’s shoulder to cry. I didn’t tell him anything. I told the players: ‘Don’t worry guys. You are also fighting at the bench and that’s what I love. I don’t want them to worry.”
Italy guard Marco Spissu (22 points, six assists) said in the post-game presser that Pozzecco told them to “win for him” as well.
Achille Polonara agreed. “When he [Pozzecco] left the court, we received a lot of energy and we knew we had to win also for him. He’s like our teammate. He’s our coach, but also our teammate.”