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2023 FIBA World Cup

Andrejs Grazulis delivers historic performance for Latvia before going back to Italy

Latvia’s power forward Andrejs Grazulis made history on Thursday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Grazulis, who made 12 of his 13 shots in the match, finished with a game-high 28 points – the highest ever for any Latvian player in the FIBA World Cup. His 92-percent field goal percentage, meanwhile, was the highest for any player with 10 or more attempts in a FIBA game over the last 30 years.

The Dolomiti Energia Trento forward downplayed his performance against the Azzurri but mentioned that he felt relieved as he would return to Italy for the next season of the Lega Basket Serie A with bragging rights.

“To be honest, it was just another game for me but at the end of the game I felt kind of relieved because I have to go to Italy and I have something to say to them afterwards so it was a great feeling,” said the 30-year-old Grazulis moments after their 87-82 escape of Italy.

“This was like the cherry on top before I have to go back there.”

FIBA-WC-ITA-vs.-LAT-Andrejs-Grazulis-0901 Andrejs Grazulis delivers historic performance for Latvia before going back to Italy 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports newsGrazulis admitted that playing two games in a row had taken its toll on the rest of the team. Latvia lost to Germany in the quarterfinals yesterday before hitting the court again against the Italians for the classification round.

Despite it all, the former Pallacanestro Trieste star expressed no qualms about it, emphasizing how it had been a pleasure to represent his national team for the first time in the FIBA World Cup.

“As a team, we simply utilized what Italy was giving us. They were switching, and I found myself matched up with the smaller guy down below, so it wasn’t difficult to score over someone who’s not very tall. But as I mentioned before, it’s a great feeling to be useful to the team. We had a tough game yesterday, and this game wasn’t easy,” said Grazulis.

“Wearing this shirt on the court is always a pleasure, and contributing is an even greater pleasure.”

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