By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – Next to Simone Fontecchio and Gigi Datome, who provided extraordinary stuff on offense, Nicolò Melli had an amazing performance on the glass, battling from beginning to the end with Nikola Milutinov to help Italy get the 78-76 win against Serbia.
When asked if their confidence was finally back now after such a feat, Italy’s number 9 kept it simple and clear. “We have always done it. The only time perhaps in which we didn’t was against the Dominican Republic. We haven’t done anything different compared to other times. It’s obvious today we were facing a prestigious opponent, but we have always put in the same effort, always playing as a team in good and bad. Sometimes we were less shining, some others a bit more. But today we simply did what we usually do”, Olimpia Milano‘s captain first stated.
Italy had to win against Serbia to keep staying afloat in the 2023 FIBA World Cup considering the defeat against the Dominican Republic. Talking about that, Melli said they were okay. “Our confidence was beyond cloud nine even yesterday. We are good together, even after the defeat against the Dominican Republic. The value of this group is all here: we are always good together. It’s obvious that following that loss we were all upset because we let our fate slip away from our hands. We have a head coach who’s capable of giving us that confidence. Winning helps, but we were fine even after that loss”, he commented.
“I believe in our team, in my friends and family. We lost against the Dominican Republic, who in my eyes is an excellent team with an outstanding player, with a playmaker who’s playing an extraordinary World Cup. It’s okay, surely we didn’t play our best game. But I believe in these guys, I believe in Gigi who really made something out of the ordinary and demonstrated pride, once more”, he finally added.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2023 FIBA World Cup