Sergio El Darwich: Lebanon, this is for you
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - It's no secret that times are tough in Lebanon lately.
Sergio El Darwich himself is well aware of how difficult it has been back home. That's why he and the Cedars make sure to put their best foot forward whenever they cross through the four lines of the court in the FIBA Asia Cup 2022.
"I think where we come from, what we did so far, is very extraordinary, [like] how they say it. But the job is not done."
That's because the entire team wants to be a beacon of hope, a source of strength and pride to their fellow countrymen.
And surely, what they have accomplished on Saturday night would make the entire nation proud. Extremely proud, if you may.
The Lebanese escaped neighboring rivals Jordan in a highly-physical affair, 86-85, to reach the Final for the first time in 15 years.
"You can see back in Lebanon, the situation in Lebanon, this win is for them," said El Darwich moments after the match at Istora Senayan.
The 25-year-old played a huge role in the triumph, picking the most opportune time to turn in his best performance of the tournament with 18 points on three triples, alongside eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Sure, Wael Arakji did come through in the clutch yet again and finished with 25 points for another MVP-worthy performance, but El Darwich was undeniably one of those who helped keep the Cedars in the game with his timely hits.
"They scouted Wael very well. They were hedging hard on him, and they made it hard on him. So, I had to step up and help him," he said.
"And that's what I did," added the 1.94 M (6'4") guard, who is now averaging 10.4 points in the tilt. "When they switched to zone, I tried to be aggressive on the shot. I made my shots, and we got back into the game."
They are indeed happy with the win but the job isn't done yet, El Darwich reminded. Now, they aim to put it all on the line in the much-awaited finale on against Australia, whom they hope to oust from their reign.
"I think where we come from, what we did so far, is very extraordinary, [like] how they say it. But the job is not done," he said. "Hopefully we can show our character, we can play hard, and try to win."