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Zagars: Latvia’s fifth-place finish in World Cup debut ‘means a lot more’ than record-setting assists

Arturs Zagars just etched his name in the annals of FIBA World Cup history, churning out a record 17 assists against Lithuania at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, September 9.

Latvia’s Arturs Zagars AFP PHOTO

The 6-foot-3 point guard also logged four points and six rebounds with zero turnovers as the Latvians crashed the Lithuanians, 98-63, to finish fifth in in their World Cup debut.

Impressive as his record-setting assists game, Zagars, 23, played it down and instead put more importance on his country placing fifth in its first go in the World Cup.

“I mean I was just passing the ball and my teammates made the shots early in the first half as well. That's that… I don't think it's something special. Maybe I was just a bit lucky today because everytime I pass the ball my teammates were making the shots” Zagars said of his 17-assist game.

“That's simple I just passed the ball and they made the shots. Obviously, I'm grateful and thankful [but] it means more that we finished top 5 than the record though.”

Latvia head coach Luka Banchi said that Zagars got himself an overall solid performance in the World Cup, and he hopes that his free agent player could find a job with what he'd just shown in the tourney.

Zagars played six years of professional ball in Europe, most recently with Nevezis Kedainiai in the 2022-2023 season of the Lithuanian Basketball League. He tried his luck in the NBA but was undrafted in 2022.

“I don't wanna judge just a specific performance, I'm more into the tournament. I believe Arturs played a solid tournament with a big responsibility,” said Banchi.

“The next is to find a job for this guy because I believe he deserves [it] and he's not like me, he's young, you know, so, I'm old and I have to rest but this guy is young and he needs to play so let's hope he finds finally a job and but I told you, I believe Arturs played a solid tournament and together with his teammates, he did an excellent job to keep the team performance no matter who the opponent.”

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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