By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – Latvia couldn’t get the win against Germany and make the jump to the FIBA World Cup semifinals, but even being part of the quarterfinals is not a small feat for the co-hosts of the next Eurobasket tournament.
As coach Luca Banchi said: “There’s disappointment, but we must not lose the vision of what we have achieved. Traveling here to Manila and being on the same table with the other seven best teams in the world. We demonstrated once more that we can compete and that makes me extremely proud”.
Davis Bertans echoed this feeling: “I am extremely proud of this team, battling in every game. We put ourselves in the position to win because we played like a team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it in the end. The only goal was the give everything in every single game. My brother is the captain and he sent a message to the fans that we would give everything and there’s nobody in our locker rooms that didn’t do that”.
Asked about the progress of his play in conjunction with his career in the NBA, Bertas put things into a different perspective: “We are here to play for the national team, nobody thinks what will happen after that. We have two more games but my motivation right now is to win the next two games”.
And Banchi said the same, speaking about Germany and also about the progress of the Latvian national team: “The beginning of our fourth quarter was our worst moment. They found a way to score thanks to the abilities of a player like Wagner. You may forget that we are facing a team with four NBA players and many EuroLeague players. But in general, our defense was great, we are not perfect, but we are proud of our imperfections. The direction is pretty clear, we have arrived here with a good mix of young and veteran players. Our heart is now breaking, but we have to continue and play because only by playing with the best you can get better. We don’t have this experience, because this national team was missing from major FIBA competitions since 2017. We see the path, we are happy for what we did, but we are totally focused on the future”.
On a personal note, since the next game for him will be playing against his country, Italy, Banchi added: “It’s kind of weird as Italian, but I also didn’t expect two years ago to be able to play in this level in the FIBA World Cup and that makes me very proud”.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIBA