Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.internet

MANILA, Philippines–Gianmarco Pozzecco has been part of a number of fabled Italian nationwide groups as a participant. He turned part of one other on Sunday night time—this time, as a coach.

The animated mentor steered the Azzurri to a 73-57 rout of Puerto Rico to e-book a spot within the 2023 Fiba World Cup’s quarterfinals—the nation’s first in 25 years.

“I really like my gamers. They’re wonderful,” he mentioned shortly after the win at Sensible Araneta Coliseum.

Pozzeco was the purpose guard for the Azzurri squad that made the quarterfinals and completed sixth place within the 1998 World Cup (then World Championship) held in Greece. He was additionally a member of the crew that received silver within the Athens Olympic Video games in 2004.

Requested how this version of Italy’s nationwide staff stacks up along with his squads of outdated, Pozzecco responded with a candid take.

“There’s nothing to check,” he mentioned. “At that second, It was completely totally different. I’ve obtained a lot respect for my teammate who performed with me at that second. In fact coach Bogdan Tanjević—among the finest individuals that I’ve met in my life. However there’s nothing to check.”

“I’m additionally proud once we performed in 2004 in Athens and received the silver medal. However what they did till at this time, we didn’t do. OK, we achieved higher end result, and everyone reminds us of that in Italy, however (this squad) did one thing plus.”

Pozzecco’s prices have been excellent of their seven preparatory video games for the World Cup. That sizzling streak carried over into the massive dance, with the Azzurri beating Angola, the Philippines, World No. 6 Serbia, and now, gutsy Puerto Rico.

“What they did—these guys—is completely totally different,” he mentioned. “They’re actually targeted on what they’re doing. I requested them earlier than the match: ‘Do you wish to proceed?’ They present me on the court docket their want.”

Italy will face a more durable foe within the quarterfinals nevertheless as a Lithuania upset over the USA, 110-104, afterward Sunday put the Individuals within the path of the Azzurri.

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