By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Poland had the perfect first half (39-58), manages to survive in the second, and got an unbelievable upset against the reigning Eurobasket champions of Slovenia by winning 87-90. Igor Milicic’s team comes back to the Top 4 of EuroBasket for the first time since 1971.
Mateusz Ponitka wrote history by becoming the fourth player to register a triple-double in EuroBasket history after Stojan Vrankovic, Toni Kukoc, and Andrei Mandache.
The new Reggio Emilia player closed his game with 26 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, and 41 of efficiency. He got some help from A.J. Slaughter (16 p., 6 r., 4 a.) and Michal Sokolowski (16 p., 5 r., 3 a.).
“I was a little bit surprised that we played so great in the first half. I didn’t see +20 points against the defending champions, that was really impressive. I’m really proud of all of our teams. Here we are: we are Cinderella right now. I think that I still don’t think wise. Tomorrow I can ask to questions about my triple-double, it’s the first time in my life. If you have occasions, you have to take it”, Mateusz Ponitka said.
“We’re grateful for the fans that came in big numbers to support us. What is remarkable were the balls, the cold brain, and the big hearts of my players to win this game. Big congratulations to everybody who made this unbelievable job. Our dream goes on”, coach Igor Milicic commented.
Slovenia had to deal with an injury that occurred to Luka Doncic during the second quarter. The Dallas Mavericks superstar still managed to record a 14 points and 11 rebounds double-double but also registered 6 turnovers.
Despite a 24-6 run in the third quarter to come back into the game, in which both Jaka Blazic (13 p. and 3/7 from three-point) and Vlatko Cancar (21 p., 4 r., 4 a.) proved to be essential, Aleksander Sekulic’s team couldn’t find a spot in the semifinals.
“They played a hell of a game, especially in the first half. They came out, fighting and scoring. Our guys fought in the second half, we put everything we had on the court. We lost the game in the first half”, coach Sekulic added.
Poland will now face France, which beat Italy earlier today, on Friday at 17:15 for a spot in the big final. Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic have all missed the Eurobasket semifinals.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL