Team Serbia were defeated by Latvia in their World Cup Qualifying rematch of Group A. Latvia were able to take advantage of a drop in pace of today’s guests ending the encounter in a 66:59 win.

Latvia vs Serbia
Photo: FIBA

Right before halftime, Dairis Bertrans (0 pts) stepped on the foot of Jagodić Kuridža who had to sit out a part of the match. The Serbian forward was previously one of the key players for his team’s advantage.

Serbia lost their 9 point lead in the 3rd quarter which was also key in their previous Belgrade match. Unlike the 3rd quarter at the Aleksandar Nikolić Hall where they showed major offensive initiative and broke their opponent during those 10 minutes, their focus dissipated today.

Latvia were more focused, more used to one another and fought their win out by the start of the final quarter.

The MVP at the Riga City Arena was Kurucs with 13 points, while Aleksa Avramović was excellent with 16 points for Serbia who will play their next game in Niš.

Coach Pešić was clear on the key points of today’s result: “The third quarter was not on the level that we needed. We knew Latvia would be very aggressive on court. Their play depends a lot on the perimeter plays. Controlling the three-point shots was important from the start and it wasn’t on the level that we needed.”

Coach Pešić then focused on his team’s rendition: “I don’t like to talk a lot about Latvia, because I coach Serbia. We expected their style. We showed that we could control the game in the first 20 minutes. But this is a new team. We were together for only 7 days, with different players. Of course you need the time... Latvia is a team who have been playing together for a long time. They know how they want to play.

We have a big respect for Latvia. They are a very talented team. But in coaching style I don’t react to the decisions of the opponents. We analyse what we play, but we have our own style”.

Time is of the essence

Speaking of the requirements for the formation of a stable squad Coach Pešić stated: “This is no excuse, but to play against a team of this level, you need to play together (i.e. spend time together). That is not easy. The player needs to understand the style required… We lost our concept in the third quarter. Especially in the offence.” -he concluded.

Foto: FIBA

After last Fall’s Belgrade match, Svetislav Pešić asked for fan support and patience: “If we don’t have our best players, as you call them, available then let’s make our best players… They need support.” -said Pešić and he is completely right. The squad needs both fan and media support.

However, the Qualifying Windows aren’t making it easy for anyone. From players, coaches and staff, all the way to the fans and the general public. The people want basketball, they love it, but often times they are perplexed about what window, which cycle and pairing their team is facing.

The qualifying process for the World’s biggest competition is both confusing and unpleasant to watch, given that these squads will never come fully prepared due to the players’ club seasons and schedules. They are overworked with little time to get used to their National Squads and fellow players. Often getting only two to three days to work out a game plan.

The windows also exacerbate the possibility of injuries, again leading to the squads becoming incomplete for the biggest face-offs.

However, none of it can be changed for this competition cycle, which means we are globally sentenced to watching a plethora of mediocre games thrown around throughout the entire year, instead of fully prepared short tournaments with clear winners.

It is what it is. But despite everything, the world will never give up on basketball.

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