Montenegro's Basketball Team center Bojan Dubljevic, as published on FIBA website, said that placing at the World Cup in China was "an experience that has, without a doubt, helped the country raise its rating on the international basketball scene". "It was absolutely right, the qualifications were tough, very difficult, but our mental strength and resistance helped us very much. We did our best to go to the World Cup and in the end, we felt relieved and happy when we finally managed to win a spot. Man, it was long and hard, but it was worth it," said Dubljevic. The World Cup placement has brought Montenegro so many good things, including the confidence of the players.
"We are a small country and we all know that it means a lot to us players and our people to participate in a competition like the World Cup. We raised our confidence at a higher level after we won the placement, but we know we have to continue to work hard and progress to be able to offer great games in China. Qualifications are behind us, now we need to focus on the final tournament," Dubljevic added.
Montenegro will play in China with Greece, Brazil, and New Zealand. "The group is very competitive, one of the most competitive in the first phase of the competition. All of our opponents in the group, unlike us, have a lot of experience at the international level, which is very important when playing at the World Cup."
"Brazil is a very strong team; I have played in Spain against some Brazilian players, they have veterans who will have a significant influence on the game. Greece is one of the best selections in Europe and with the talent they have, including Giannis Antetokounmpo they can achieve a lot. New Zealand is a team that plays with a lot of intensity and we will have to play a good defense to play at the same physical level as they are," says the center of Valencia.
Greece was the vice-champion of the world 13 years ago, when they surprised the Americans in the semifinals. In 2002, New Zealand reached semi-finals of the World Cup and was fourth, while Brazil had not been on the winner's podium since 1978 but is still among the best selections from the American continent.
"This is an unbelievable opportunity for us, for the country, for the entire population of Montenegro. We are a small country, but we are proud and want to represent the state in the best way. We want to show that Montenegro has the talent that we want to show at the highest level".
"We know that we are not among the favorites, but we will compete and fight at each game to make people proud. We have a tremendous opportunity to show our country through the games, to show our flag, to get the people to learn something about our country and our basketball," added Dubljevic.
The performance at the World Cup will be a great promotion of Montenegro.
"A big window to let the world see who we are, and we'll be working hard to prepare for the start of the competition and be in the best form. I repeat, wearing a red jersey on our backs, we want to make our fellow citizens proud," Dubljevic said.
Our ace is also aware that there is no guarantee when you come to a major event and that there is no dilemma that he will be in our team at this championship.
"It is very important for me, I'm really excited to have the chance to compete against the best teams and players in the world, which will help our basketball progress, and all of us to gain more experience for future contests."
Dubljevic says there are a lot of things to look forward to in China:
"Starting from the audience and the fans, because the atmosphere will be great, up to big tournament competition, and more than that. Playing at the World Championship is probably one of the most important things for basketball players. That’s why I am looking forward to everything that will take place this summer. My teammates, the professional staff, all together, want us to do something big in China," concluded Dubljevic.
Text by Sasa Joncic, on June 20th, 2019, read more at Vijesti