The Slovenia Times

Beaten Finland, Spain Next


Slovenia started their campaign at the Eurobasket in a promising fashion, notching four wins in a row and losing only to Russia at the buzzer in the preliminary round.

But two losses to Greece and Macedonia followed in the second round, pushing Slovenia to the brink of elimination and turning today's encounter with Finland into a do-or-die match.

Slovenia shook off their inconsistency from the previous two matches and virtually led from start to finish to earn Wednesday's quarterfinal match-up with Spain, who convincingly won the other main round group.

Slovenia's top scorers were power forwards Erazem Lorbek (14 points) and Uros Slokar, who also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

Slovenia's coach Bozidar Maljkovic congratulated the players on the victory, adding that Slovenia undoubtedly belonged to the top eight basketball nations in Europe.

"I don't want to talk about the next game, although all of you know how tough it is to beat Spain, because I don't want to downplay the success against Finland."

Captain Jaka Lakovic hopes that Slovenia will now play more relaxed and with more courage. "We know that Spain are the favourites, but we will do everything we can to make them work hard to get the win."

Leading scorer Lorbek is "aware that Spain are playing very good basketball and we will have to switch a gear higher if we want to pose a threat to them."

The first two teams from the tournament will directly qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics, while teams ranked 3-6 will earn spots in an Olympic qualifying tournament.


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