Gigi Datome and Nicolo Melli take on Serbia
The words of Gigi Datome and Nicolo Melli.
The Azzurri are in Berlin. With a flight operated by Italbasket’s jersey sponsor, ITA Airways, the national team arrived in Germany a day after the conclusion of round C at the Forum in Milan. The final fourth place in the first phase brought as a dowry for the round of 16 the big match against Serbia, one of the strongest teams in Europe and beyond.
“A new phase begins,” said captain Gigi Datome, “the one where you cannot make mistakes. We would have liked to achieve a better placement in Milan but now it is useless to look back. Serbia is a strong team but I am in my sixth European and experience has taught me that in the knockout stages every detail counts and no one can afford to underestimate opponents. We have a day and a half to rest and be ready. Already in Hamburg we assayed the qualities of the Serbs while not disfiguring, on the contrary. We are here and we want to try everything to move forward.”
“Reaching 100 appearances with the national team,” said Nicolò Melli, “is a goal that makes me proud. It was 100 games that gave me the opportunity to grow and each one had its own importance in the journey. To reach this milestone in Milan, where I also made my debut in 2011, was special. But now we look to match number 101, which will certainly be very complex from a physical and mental point of view. We know Serbia well for having faced them several times in recent years. They have a deep roster with a lot of quality in every area of the court. We will have to be focused on our own stuff for 40 minutes and try to jam their mechanisms as much as possible. We carry with us the warmth of a Forum that on every occasion has given us an incredible boost.”