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Datome expects hostile crowd as Italy battles GIlas Pilipinas in do-or-die game

Italy's veteran forward Luis Datome has played in numerous venues packed with hostile crowds during his distinguished professional and international basketball career.

And this coming Tuesday against Gilas Pilipinas won't be any different.

Luis Datome FIBA PHOTO

With the Azzurri's 2023 FIBA World Cup second round chances hanging in the balance, Datome knows the implications of losing against the Filipinos.

“At this stage, you know, there's no time for depression, no time for euphoria. I think we've been, we're old enough, everybody went through important games, everybody played against tough homecourt,” Datome said, shortly after Italy suffered a stinging 87-82 loss to the Dominican Republic on Sunday night.

The 35-year-old former Detroit Piston and Boston Celtic forward described the upcoming collision with the Philippines at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as “exciting.”

“I think, [it's] gonna be a nice atmosphere and all the players love to play in a nice atmosphere. We're gonna control what we can do on the court. One day rest is just the environment. We need to be focused on our job,” stressed the 2017 EuroLeague champion and 2023 LBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

The 6-foot-8 Datome also took note of the fact that Italy's defense will really have to center around Utah Jazz superstar Jordan Clarkson due to his playmaking ways and ability to score in bunches.

But he's also aware that Gilas is not merely dependent on Clarkson, noting that the Philippines has a slew of players, who can be considered serious scoring threats.

“Of course, the Philippines, like Dominican Republic, they have a single great player and all around them there's a good team. So for sure, it's very important to limit this player,” said Datome.

“You cannot stop them (Filipinos), they're so good, you can only limit them with the teamwork and pay attention to the others because they are all good players and have a game plan, try to execute it, stick with it and at the end of the day, we try to do the same thing.”

Italy enters the Tuesday night match against Gilas with an even 1-1 record. The Azzurri opened the World Cup with an 81-67 dumping of Angola last Friday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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