Pozzecco admits his nervousness, praises Greece and Stefano Tonut

Giorgos Kyriakidis
Staff Writer
2022-09-03 04:45

Gianmarco Pozzecco and Achille Polonara represented Italy in the press conference after the game vs. Estonia. They both agreed that their team would need a great game to defeat their next opponent, Greece.

Credit: FIBA

Italy started their EuroBasket campaign with an easy win over Estonia at the Mediolanum Forum. 

Coach Gianmarco Pozzecco has every reason to smile since the hosts looked pretty comfortable on the court for the most part. Italy finished the game with 24 assists and that's something that Pozzecco, as a first-class ex-point guard, could not help but notice. 

"We played our first game at home and wanted to start the competition well. Whenever you see a team pass the ball like we did tonight, it means they're good. Everyone must take a step back to help his teammates. That's the right way to play," the 49-year-old tactician said in the postgame presser before adding:

"We're not so tall or athletic, but we're playing well. Tomorrow, we're playing against one of the best teams in Europe. We might lose, but I think we'll play a good game." 

As Italy is trying to get over the shock of Danilo Gallinari's absence, Pozzecco took the opportunity to dedicate the win to the 33-year-old forward, who tore his ACL in his left knee once again and is set to miss at least six months of action. He also made a tribute to Sergio Civitarese, a 26-year-old Italian fan who's battling brain cancer and is going to have surgery on Saturday.

Pozzecco went on to concede his nervousness and praise a particular player for his contribution. 

"I was nervous, especially in the third quarter," he admitted. "I didn't treat one of my players the right way. Players are the best part in basketball.

Stefano Tonut was the picture of our team. He doesn't play his game offensively but sacrifices himself on defense. He's a great player and a  great guy." 

Forward Achille Polonara, who had a multi-faceted contribution with 12 points, 11 rebound and 5 assists, concurred that his side "started very well," adding that  "tomorrow, we're going to need a perfect game. I know we can do it. We've lost a great player in Danilo Gallinari, but tomorrow it will be a big battle."

Credit Screenshot

The game in question is Italy-Greece, heralded by many as the group's most decisive clash in terms of finishing first. Polonara said Italy hasn't done their homework ahead of that game, "but from what I saw of them in the first half against Croatia, they played amazingly. Dorsey played a great game, and they have a lot of experienced players, like Calathes and Sloukas.

We have to play perfect defense, all five of us. Team defense can win us games," he underlined.

"Greece has an NBA MVP, but if Giannis were the only one to look at, it would have been easier," Pozzecco continued.

"That's not the case. There's Dorsey, Papanikolaou, Papapetrou, Sloukas and many great players. Giannis is one of EuroBasket's main attractions, like Doncic. We have to place all our cards all the table. But our game principles will be the same," he noted.

Show comments

Add comment

  Total comments: 0

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website