By Cesare Milanti / firstname.lastname@example.org
MANILA, Philippines – The end of Gigi Datome‘s career is closer than ever, as the 35-year-old small forward will say goodbye to basketball on Saturday in Italy’s game to finish the 2023 FIBA World Cup in the 7th position.
In his second-last game, against Luca Banchi’s Latvia, he surprised everybody by registering his best scoring tally in the competition, ending with a losing effort of 20 points, shooting 7/10 from the field – with 4/7 from deep – and 2/2 at the charity stripe.
Stopping by in the mixed zone after the defeat, he commented on the game. “Nobody thought we could have won all games, but it was right to compete as we did. Showing the true face of this team. We had a lot of ups and downs, playing better. Latvia is a great team, non in terms of names but for the level of basketball displayed. They play truly well and it’s no coincidence they finished in the Top 8: they beat some of the best teams of this World Cup. We really wanted to win, let’s try to close things up well in the last game. We have to do it for ourselves most of all”, he first said.
Touching once more on Latvia’s performance so far in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Gigi Datome expressed his appreciation for the Baltic team. “They have been one of the surprises of the World Cup, just like us. They play wonderful basketball: good actions, ideas, reads. They have players conscious of their roles, with some crucial elements. They did a great job, it was their first time at a World Cup. This is already a success, and entering the Top 8 is amazing”, the small forward said on Luca Banchi’s squad.
During his second-last basketball game, Gabriele Procida made a statement for the future, scoring 8 points with 4 offensive rebounds coming off the bench. “He will surely have more minutes in the future, and even the next game is the occasion for him to taste this kind of level, which is high enough even today. He did the right things, he didn’t want to overdo it. He played with energy, without hesitations. Gabriele took the initiatives he had to take, so hats off to him, Matteo [Spagnolo] and Momo [Diouf]. They were great today”, he finally stated about the 21-year-old player and his young colleagues.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2023 FIBA World Cup