The Belgian Lions did not miss their start at the 3×3 World Cup. In front of their own audience at the Antwerp Groenplaats, the Belgian men beat Slovenia 21-16.
After their excellent performances at the Olympic Games last year, expectations are high for the Belgian Lions, also among the Belgian public. The basketball fans had come en masse to the Antwerp Groenplaats and created a blistering atmosphere in the temporary basketball stadium.
Against Slovenia, the 13th seed at this World Cup, the inevitable Thibaut Vervoort immediately set the tone. The Belgian strongman threw in 2 two-pointers at the start of the game and the Belgians steamed to a 6-0 lead.
After that blitz start, the Belgians could check their lead. Slovenia tried to turn the tide from behind the two-point line, but a cunning Belgium did not allow a comeback anymore.
Floating on the enthusiasm of an exuberant audience, the Belgian Lions fulfilled their duty. Outstanding Vervoort (13 points) turned off the Slovenian light from the free-throw line.
Thibaut Vervoort: “A wonderful feeling”
“It was our first game, in front of our home crowd. It was important to be there right away,” says top scorer Thibaut Vervoort. “It was crucial to turn the stress of the first minutes into energy and we did that. That’s how we were able to win.”
How much energy do you get as a player from the enthusiastic audience? “Perhaps a little too much”, grins Vervoort, who excited the fans during the match. “But it is an enormous privilege to be able to play here for my friends and family. That is a really great feeling.”