The 1/8th finals and the quarter-finals at the European Championship were not favorable to the stars of the NBA. First the Serbia of MVP Nikola Jokic was kicked out of the tournament, then Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) followed and last night it was the turn of the Slovenia of Luka Doncic. Poland surprisingly lured the defending champion.
Doncic was below his usual level with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but extenuating circumstances appeared at the post-match press conference. “I wasn’t 100 percent. I got an injection during the 3rd quarter,” Doncic confessed, not wanting to use his sore back as an excuse.
“I played poorly today. I let down my team and the whole country that supported us. I take that on myself. But I want to use this game to become even stronger.”
The Dallas Mavericks guard did have praise for Poland and casually threw flowers at the Belgian Lions, who were knocked out in the 1/8th finals by Doncic and co. “We were favourites, but Poland has a great team, just like Belgium. There are many strong countries at this European Championship,” said Doncic.
The MVP of the match was Mateusz Ponitka, who has a history with Ostend. The Pole only registered the 3rd triple-double in European Championship history with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. “He was fantastic, but I already played against him a few times, so I already knew that. He actually belongs in the NBA,” said Doncic.