MANILA, Philippines–Gianmarco Pozzecco has been part of a number of fabled Italian nationwide groups as a participant. He grew to become 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 guide 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.
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Requested how this version of Italy’s nationwide staff stacks up together with his squads of outdated, Pozzecco responded with a candid take.
“There’s nothing to match,” he mentioned. “At that second, It was completely totally different. I’ve received a lot respect for my teammate who performed with me at that second. In fact coach Bogdan Tanjević—the most effective individuals that I’ve met in my life. However there’s nothing to match.”
“I’m additionally proud once we performed in 2004 in Athens and received the silver medal. However what they did till at the moment, we didn’t do. OK, we achieved higher end result, and all people 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 scorching streak carried over into the large 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 need to proceed?’ They present me on the court docket their need.”
Italy will face a harder foe within the quarterfinals nevertheless as a Lithuania upset over america, 110-104, in a while Sunday put the People within the path of the Azzurri.