View Full Version : Slovenians beat Poles in first warm-up, 76-65

07-25-2006, 04:44 PM
KOPER (FIBA World Championship) - Slovenia beat Poland 76-65 in Koper on Monday in their first warm-up friendly for the FIBA World Championship to continue what has been a very positive summer for the team.

Ales Pipan's men, who will play in Sapporro in Group D along with the United States, Senegal, China, Puerto Rico and Italy, stormed out to a 24-15 lead in the first quarter and extended that to 41-26 by half-time.

Poland, who will play in EuroBasket Division A qualifying games later this year, trimmed the deficit to 57-49 by the end of the third quarter but did not have enough to overcome the Slovenians, who got 13 points from Primoz Brezec, 11 from Bostjan Nachbar and 10 from Beno Udrih - three members of the team who play in the NBA.

The mood has been upbeat for Slovenia ever since they booked their place in this year's big event in Japan for it will be the first time the country has played in a FIBA World Championship since the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The national side began their workouts earlier this month in Rogla and then travelled to the seaside to train in Portoroz. Now they will travel to Istanbul for the annual Efes Tournament from July 28-31 where they will take on three other teams who are in the FIBA World Championship: Nigeria, Lebanon and Turkey.

From August 2-6, the Slovenians will be in Maribor to face Venezuela, Lebanon and Canada and next, in their final tournament before Japan, they will go to Singapore to face Argentina, Serbia & Montenegro and Spain.

The time spent in Rogla and Portoroz was not particulary fun but necessary, coach Pipan said.

"The toughest, and most unpopular part of the preparations, especially for the players, is behind us," he said. "I am very happy with the players' attitude, as they are - as true profesionals - aware that physical condition is very importnant if we want to achieve something in Japan."

Veteran center Rasho Nesterovic, who has moved from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors this summer, said: "The first part was, in my opinion, successful. There were no injuries and we have raised our physical condition to a higher level. I hope we can survive the next phase - friendlies - without injuries, too. It would be very important if we could appear in Japan with all our best players."

Pipan expressed frustration over the rule which forces him to name his national team 10 days before the start of the FIBA World Championship.

"The championship will last 14 days and it is in Japan," he said. "Many teams will arrive there sooner to adjust to different climate. I think FIBA should allow one or two reserves if somebody gets injured during the championship."

07-25-2006, 06:02 PM
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