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2023 FIBA World Cup

RHJ left disappointed on 0-5 FIBAWC run: ‘Kobe took over games and won it, I didn’t’

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s stint in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 for Jordan was undeniably heroic.

However, even his impressive performances couldn’t help the Falcons secure a single win in the global showcase, resulting in a 0-5 record that placed them at the bottom, 32nd place, due to an inferior points difference compared to fellow winless teams Venezuela and Iran. And that is what hurt RHJ the most.

“It’s really heavy.

“When you look at it, they’ll say, ‘Rondae, you played well, but you didn’t get a win,’ and I feel like in those moments, they can chant ‘Kobe,’ but I know a lot of times Kobe took over the game and won it, and I didn’t win any game,” said Hollis-Jefferson.

“I feel that the most, not being able to help my team get a win. That hurts,” he added moments after their 93-80 loss to Mexico on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

FIBA-WC-USA-vs.-JRD-Ingram-and-Hollis-Jefferson RHJ left disappointed on 0-5 FIBAWC run: 'Kobe took over games and won it, I didn't' 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports newsHollis-Jefferson finished with averages of 23.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals in 38 minutes and 34 seconds of floor time in five games.

He also recorded a tournament-high of 39 points against New Zealand, where he led the improbable comeback of the Falcons, highlighted by a seven-points-in-seven-seconds sequence to force overtime before running out of gas in the extra period.

Then came the more heroic moments.

In Jordan’s third and final game in the first round against the mighty USA, RHJ rolled his ankle in the second quarter but still played the rest of the game.

A day after, the Falcons were back on the floor to start their classification round against Egypt.

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RHJ, limping and not moving the way he usually does, still played all 40 minutes of the game, even though his production dropped, only making nine points on six attempts.

Two days later, Hollis-Jefferson yet again played all 40 minutes against Mexico, amassing 26 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. But they fell short again.FIBA-WC-USA-vs.-JRD-Rondae-Hollis-Jefferson-1 RHJ left disappointed on 0-5 FIBAWC run: 'Kobe took over games and won it, I didn't' 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

“I decided to play, so it doesn’t even matter whether I’m injured or not. Once you decide to be on the court, you gotta give it your all,” said the six-year NBA veteran.

“I’m a competitor, so if the coach needs me to play 40 minutes, that’s what it says. I’m not the one to ask for a sub, so we just keep going with the flow, keep working, keep playing.

Hollis-Jefferson, who almost gave up on basketball after being out of the NBA, expressed his gratitude to Jordan for choosing him to be its naturalized player.

RHJ will continue to represent Jordan in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

“It was exceptional, it was fun, it was thrilling to be able to have this journey not expecting to be on the national team, especially not from the US,” said RHJ, who will be TNT’s import in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. “It’s been a journey, and I appreciate every minute of it to come here and be able to compete at one of the highest levels and to give my all when I was out there.

“It was awesome, I cannot thank the Jordan country, the staff for allowing me to do that, for allowing me to be myself. It means the world to me.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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