Dream Fiba World Cup run continues for Italians | Inquirer Sports

Dream Fiba World Cup run continues for Italians

/ 04:20 AM September 04, 2023

Italy in the Fiba World Cup

Italy in the Fiba World Cup. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Italy came to Manila for the Fiba World Cup with a dream.

And after a 73-57 dismantling of Puerto Rico where Giampaolo Ricci came to Italy’s rescue in the fourth quarter, the Italians are daring to dream some more.

“We’re happy. This game was crucial for us. We dreamt of being in the top eight of the World Cup and we realized that,” said Ricci after shooting 10 of his 15 in the fourth period at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We just did what the coach told us. We fought for 40 minutes.

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“We will keep on dreaming.” That dream, though, will have to go through United States, which lost to Lithuania in the other group, as the Italians play in the quarterfinals for the first time in 25 years.

“First of all, we need to understand who we’re gonna face,” star Luigi Datome said. “For sure, the level’s gonna rise up and also we need to step up to the level. But today, we [will] enjoy the day because it’s a very important game for us.”

Datome finished with 11 points.

Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio shot 1-of-7 from the field in the first half but did his damage on the Puerto Ricans in the final two periods, as he still finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds as Italy closed out with a 4-1 record.

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Their quarterfinal match with either Team USA or Lithuania is set on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Puerto Rico finished the second round with a 3-2 record, missing the final phase as Tremont Waters, who scored 37 last game, only finished with 13 points on 2-of-10 three-point shooting. He dished out nine assists, though.

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“Puerto Rico is a great team, it has a lot of talent,” said Ricci. “I think it’s a team win because we won the game through defense—they only scored 57 points. It’s a great emphasis of this game.”

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Italy, Sports

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