By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to a good second quarter, Poland managed to get things done against Venezuela which put up a fight, but ultimately couldn’t match the players of coach Mike Taylor in Group A opener.
The final score was 80-69. Mateusz Ponitka scored 15 points, and Michal Sokolowski added 16 for the winners as Poland controlled the game, having an early advantage in rebounds. Venezuela finished the game also having good rebounding numbers (42 vs. 39); however, until the third period, Poland was better in that department.
As coach Mike Taylor said: “We have demonstrated in the last few years that our players can rise to the occasion. The key was how we reacted to the ball pressure and of course the rebounds and teamwork. It’s a great start to the tournament for us”.
Venezuela started the game with a two-point lead at the end of the first period (24-22). Poland reacted, kept their opponents to 12 points in the second quarter and built a 44-36 halftime lead behind 12 points by Ponitka.
Venezuela reacted and made it a two-point game (44-42) at the start of the third period. Aaron Cel answered with a three (47-42). It was the start of a 14-4 run that gave Poland a 58-46 lead. The third quarter ended with Poland leading by nine (60-51), and the eventual winners never looked back.
Pedro Chourio was the top scorer of the losing side with 15 points. Still, Venezuela was overpowered and outgunned. That’s why coach Fernando Hector Duro wanted to change the page right after the game: “Poland was better, but I have to mention the effort of my players, and now we have to focus on the next two games of our group.”
With the next game for Poland being the matchup against China, Taylor was asked about the challenge: “We respect China, but we also have a tradition of playing well against the hosts of the tournaments. I got the chance to see China in the NBA summer league. We will be extra motivated, and it has not to do with China. It has to do with us. Playing the host team is going to be a special challenge”.
Photo credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL