Gigi Datome stays positive as he misses shot at medal in final FIBA World Cup

Gigi Datome stumbled in his last chance to win a FIBA medal at the senior level. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--This year's FIBA World Cup is Gigi Datome's last chance to at least score a medal at the professional level.

Datome, a two-time bronze medalist for Italy at the youth level, never got to make it to the podium with the Azzurri's senior team, and making the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals moved him closer to the goal.

However, on Tuesday night, Italy ran into an American team that saw Mikal Bridges and Tyrese Haliburton catching fire to steal the spotlight away from Paolo Banchero.

Italy was knocked out of the FIBA World Cup contention at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in the worst of fashions as the USA dealt them their worst loss ever in the tournament, and Datome will retire from basketball without giving Italy's first team a FIBA podium finish.

The 2017 Euroleague champion only finished with three points and one steal in eight and a half minutes of action.

Despite the latest dent to Datome's illustrious national team career, he said it was fine with him.

"It's OK. I knew it was a possibility. For a lot of years, I played for a medal, but I couldn't get any closer to these quarterfinals. So it was a chance," said Datome, who is turning 36 this November.

Italy's campaign, however, is still not yet over as the team will play in the classification games for the fifth to eighth places on Thursday and Saturday.

The goal now is for Italy to finish the World Cup strong and still give Datome a fitting farewell from the game.

"I want to compete to be part of this tournament, and I feel very very happy and proud to be in this group, so we'll try to finish strong," Datome further said.

Italy will face the losing team in the Germany-Latvia game in a consolation match on Thursday night still at the MOA Arena.

If Italy prevails, it will play in the fifth-place game on Saturday night. Otherwise, it will fall to the seventh-place game on the same night.

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