Slovenia hardly broke a sweat while blowing out Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 to score its first win in the 2021 FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Wednesday evening (Manila time) at Hauptplatz in Graz, Austria.
And world no. 31 player Anže Srebovt said that it was an easy victor for the Slovenians.
“This was an easy win for us, but we look forward to winning some more games,” said the 29-year-old big man.
Slovenia’s team is composed of the world’s third-best 3×3 team in Piran. The team consisting of Srebovt, world no. 18 Simon Finzgar, no. 23 Gašper Ovnik, and no. 35 Adin Kavgic had been together for years as they also play in FIBA 3×3’s pro circuit.
Despite coming off a 17-19 heartbreaker against France, Slovenia remained composed against Gilas.
In fact, they did not panic even if they figured in a slow start that saw them only lead 4-3 early.
In a snap, the Slovenians went on an 11-0 spurt that saw Finzgar and Ovnik knock down four deuces. They also had a showtime moment when Ovnik, Finzgar, and Srebovt did a triple cut play with the 6-foot-5 behemoth finding himself free underneath.
That rally saw Slovenia play with beautiful ball movement that led to wide-open triples. All the while, they played suffocating yet disciplined defense.
“It’s pretty easy.
“We know that we made stupid mistakes the first game. We lost something in our head. But it’s a long tournament, so we managed to stay together,” Srebovt recalled.
Though Joshua Munzon heated up late, Slovenia’s lead was already insurmountable and was just target-shooting to reach match-point. When they reached the 20-point mark, Munzon fouled Finzgar, who calmly sank his free throw to seal the win with 2:17 to spare.
All in all, Slovenia went 5-of-10 from distance compared to 2-of-15 for the Filipinos. Finzgar also had a field day as he went 3-of-3 from downtown.
Now, Slovenia looks to atone for its meltdown against France. “We want to get the ticket to the Olympics, but it’s a tough tournament.”
Slovenia can now about how they can improve their chances for the Olympics. Meanwhile, Gilas 3×3 will have a day to think about how to get a win in the global meet.
Gilas 3×3 also lost to Qatar earlier, 12-21.