Lithuania misses out on medal anew as unbeaten run snapped at worst time
MANILA, Philippines — Lithuania failed to follow up its big win over Team USA and flamed out against Serbia in the Fiba World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The Lithuanians swept the first two rounds of the tournament but finally met their match in the surging Serbians led by NBA veteran Bogdan Bogdanovic, who had a game-high 21 points.
“Now it’s nothing. Just a history. Now we don’t have any chances to fight for the medal,” said Tadas Sedekerskis, who led Lithuania with 14 points and nine rebounds in an 87-68 loss at Mall of Asia Arena.
Lithuania is missing the semifinal round for the second straight World Cup and Sedekerskis couldn’t help but regret not being able to make the podium again.
“We set our goal on the first day of our camp, we wanted a medal. Of course, nobody was waiting for us to play that good so our goal was to win the medal and we knew that if we wanted to win that, we had to beat Serbia today in the quarterfinals to go to the semifinals,” Sedekerskis said.
“It’s difficult to talk right now because it was [the] most important game for us to go to the semifinals. Til this game, we had [an] amazing tournament, we won five games in a row,” he added.
The 25-year-old forward stressed that they didn’t let their big 110-104 win over Team USA go inside their heads.
“We didn’t think oh we’ll be good or something because we won against the United States. We know that the Serbian team is an amazing team and they know how to play basketball. They have great players like Bogdanovic and so, it was easy to forget,” Sedekerskis said. “Maybe for the fans, no, but for us, for the players, I can guarantee 100% that we forgot that.”
The 6-foot-9 Sedekerskis was left in shock after Lithuania picked the worst time to have a bad game.
“I don’t know actually what happened today. It looked like they played more aggressively, they played better defense. We couldn’t get in our rhythm and you could see the result says it all. We lost by 20 points without a fight and then they just crushed us,” he said.
Lithuania will play in the classification round from fifth to eighth places starting Thursday.