By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Finals, which will put against each other Team USA and Canada for the bronze medal, and Germany and Serbia for the gold, three gentlemen shared words on a roundtable in Manila.
The three Global Ambassadors of the International competition Pau Gasol, Luis Scola, and Carmelo Anthony were part of a talk show the day after attending the two thrilling semifinals which saw Gordon Herbert and Svetislav Pesic’s team advance to win it all in the Mall of Asia Arena.
Talking about these two games, there were nothing but exciting words. “The energy was unbelievable, we had a great upset. In Jakarta was great as well, for me it was the first time and I really enjoyed it”, Luis Scola opened the convo. “It’s what you expect out of the semifinal. We saw two great games, it was wide open. They went at it”, Pau Gasol added, while Carmelo Anthony concluded it. “INtensity level and focus level. I was excited those were two great games. We got what we wanted as ambassadors and competitors”, the three-time Olympic champions added.
Moving more particularly on the United States’ defeat against the German national team, Carmelo Anthony kept it clear. “It was an upset”, he commented. “When you have that gold standard, anything other than that was an upset. You have to take your hat off to Germany, and for Serbia as well. That’s good for the sport, everybody has to think differently when approaching these competitions. The game has grown globally. Everybody has an opportunity to go there and win a gold medal”, he then added.
“Those guys are gonna come to play, they know how to compete. I don’t think they came here thinking this was a clear shot. Everybody has their own thing and decision, with their reasons why. We’re developing these young guys to be able to compete around the world. My advice to Team USA is that we have to find ways to come together. This is a different style of game: slower, half-court. When you get a team like Germany that beat the USA at their pace, at their style, it’s a different game”, the former New York Knicks player also commented on the American players’ attitude.
Relating to basketball going global, Carmelo Anthony thinks this has affected the results the USA went through in Manila. “I’d say the respect level for the game of basketball now is a lot different. Guys know they have to get to compete, we know these guys, scout them for eight months. They back on their respective teams, and countries: they play for something different. The USA is looking at this right now. We have to keep encouraging at this right here. The fans in the Philippines have seen these guys”, the 39-year-old shared.
Sharing the International stage for so many years, Luis Scola and Pau Gasol talked about their immortal clashes between Argentina and Spain. “It was tough. Spain has had a great team for all these years, the battles were great. They did an unbelievable job”, the Argentinian forward first said. “Great battles with Argentina, we were ready for each other. Very competitive, Manu, Fabri, Nocioni, Luis… the rest of their team, everybody just brought a lot of fight to the game. We needed our part to elevate it”, the Spaniard added.
The three Global Ambassadors were then asked about tomorrow’s clash between Germany and Serbia for the gold. “That’s a great game. I honestly wasn’t expecting that to be the final, but both teams have been amazing. They are here playing unbelievable basketball, fun to watch. I’m excited for the bronze medal game as well. I’m excited about how these guys will approach that game. Those are teams who are supposed to win it all: how these guys are gonna approach this is really important. You’re supposed to be a champion and you lost. that’s fine. But you always have to respect the game”, Luis Scola said.
“Job is not done, you have to manage that type of excitement and emotions, having the chance to win a gold medal. Managing emotions, excitement, and understanding the opportunity you have to make history for your country. I saw confidence in my teammates in 2006. We came out with heart, playing amazing defensive games. That was one of the games I really enjoyed the most, even though I wasn’t on the court”, Pau Gasol added while referring to his personal experience, of not being able to play with his teammates when winning the 2006 FIBA World Cup.
Germany, as said by Gordon Herbert in yesterday’s post-game press conference, is going through a three-year process, highlighted by Pau Gasol in FIBA’s Talk Show. “Nothing really happens overnight, everything is a process. You see the process of Germany throughout the past 20 years, and what Dirk has been able to do for his country. You will look back at EuroBasket 2017, losing against us in the quarter-finals. Then, they won the bronze medal in Berlin, and now they will fight for gold in the World Cup. They’re taking steps forward with the same guys. It’s a process, it’s all about making steps in terms of growth”, the 43-year-old also expressed.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2023 FIBA World Cup
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