30 August, 2014
14 September
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No more fear for Egypt's Elmekawi

GRANADA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Moustafa Elmekawi's fear of playing in front of a world audience only lasted a few minutes before he came off the bench and had a significant performance on Saturday, even though Egypt lost 85-64 to Serbia in their 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup opener.

The 19-year-old contributed seven points, grabbed a team-high five rebounds all the while battling in the paint against the Serbian pair of giants that is Nenad Krstic and Miroslav Raduljica, making the Egyptian dream big.

"To be honest, I can't explain why I was so anxious prior to the game, perhaps because it was my first official game with the senior team," he said.

Now, Elmekawi - who had a highlight play when he drove coast-to-coast for two points - says he can't wait for the remainder of the tournament to keep his enthusiasm going.

Even facing the host nation Spain on Sunday is no longer a concern for the youngest player in the Egyptian squad.

"Today I had my career's biggest test, now it is all about time," he said.

"It is a dream playing against these players that I am only used to see on the TV.

"This game increases my dream of playing in the EuroLeague one day or even the NBA."

The 2.03m forward who plays for Egyptian side Zamalek insists what he did against Serbia is part of his learning process.

"I just did what the coach asked me to do, and of course, my teammates encouraged me to keep going. I feel that I am part of the competition now," he explained.

"I feel great and I am already thinking about the games against, Spain, France, Brazil and Iran."

Egypt executed some eye-catching moves such as a perfect pick-and-roll involving Youssef Sousha and Kamal Haytam that the latter finished with a dunk earlier in the game, and a three-pointer by Sherif Genedy over Nikola Kalini.

But how about Elmekawi's coast-to-coast play in the fourth quarter?

"I feel great I did it," he says, adding, "honestly, I don't do that sort of play very often."