Belgium's coach: 'Locking up Doncic in the locker room is the best recipe'

2022-09-10 06:25

Belgium's coach Dario Gjergja joked that the best recipe for success against Slovenia is locking Luka Doncic up in the locker room. The coach also admitted that the tournament goal has already been reached and predicted Serbia to win the EuroBasket.

Credit: FIBA

Belgium will face Slovenia in the EuroBasket 2022 Round of 16 today. Getting into the playoffs is already a win for the underdogs and they know it.

Matching up against Luka Doncic's team in the playoffs is not easy for any national team in the world, let alone Belgium. Their head coach Dario Gjergja admits that the goal has already been met, and they are here for a good time.

"We met our goal," the coach told Martin Pavcnik from SportKlub Slovenija. "We have some great games coming up. On the other hand, we are realistic. It's difficult to attain top achievements overnight."

However, Belgium has already beaten Spain in EuroBasket, they also defeated Serbia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers window at the beginning of July. Not many people expected the national team to achieve those two victories. Similarly, not many people predicted them going to the playoffs from Group A.

Now, the national team is trying to climb the highest hill so far. Having beat two of the better teams of the tournament recently, Gjergja was asked about a recipe for stopping Luka Doncic.

"Should we lock Luka Doncic in the locker room? That would be the best recipe," the coach joked.

"I find it interesting that everyone only talks about Doncic. Doncic, Doncic, Doncic. Slovenia is not just Luka Doncic," he also noted. "I, therefore, predict a medal for Slovenia."

Gjergja was born in Croatia but accepted a Belgian passport in 2018. He's a distant relative of Croatian basketball great Josip Gjergja, who guided Croatia to a 1994 Fiba World Cup bronze medal, the second to last in the country's history.

However, the coach doesn't see Croatia getting a medal this year.

"Serbia is an extremely dominant team that has at least two excellent players in every position. That's why it's the number one favorite if you ask me. Greece and Slovenia follow," Gjergja told.

The matchup between Belgium and Slovenia is scheduled today at 14:45 CET.



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