MANILA, Philippines—Slovenia’s head coach Aleksander Sekulic had some positive words for Luka Doncic after the squad’s loss at the hands of Lithuania in the 2023 Fiba World Cup classification stage for fifth to eighth place.
The Slovenians fell to the Lithuanians, 100-84, which means that the highest they can finish is seventh and they would have to beat Italy on Saturday in order to do so.
Despite the outcome, Sekulic lauded the Dallas Mavericks star who finished with 29 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in the defeat.
Even with the game already beyond reach midway through the fourth quarter, Doncic only checked out of the match with 27 seconds left.
“He was amazing. The thing that I liked about him is he came to me and said ‘I’m ready to play, I’m fresh, I’m good, I’m great and I want to play. I don’t know where he got his energy from,” said Sekulic at Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.
“He was just amazing, he probably wanted to show gratitude to the fans here in the Philippines who really love him here. Maybe it’s connected, he probably got the energy from the fans.”
Doncic, however, didn’t shoot the ball as well as he did in the loss to Canada where he finished with 26 points on an efficient 40 percent shooting.
This time, he only had a lowly 33.3 percent shooting clip and went 1-of-10 in the second half, with this only field goal a three-point in the dying seconds with the match already decided.
Fatigue may have been a factor with the Slovenians hitting the court again less than 24 hours after losing in the quarterfinals.
As far as the team is concerned, Doncic will also play against Italy on Saturday in Slovenia’s final game in this World Cup.
“The plan is for him to play, I hope he’s going to be ready to play.”
Doncic is currently the leading scorer of the Fiba tournament with norms of 26.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.
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