Pleased about job well done in Pre-Qualifiers, Vezenkov hopes to see Bulgarian fans in November
BOTEVGRAD (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers) - Bulgaria became one of the first three teams to secure a place in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers after snatching up their third consecutive victory in the Pre-Qualifiers on Saturday evening.
The traffic was mostly heading one direction all game long, as the Aleksandar Vezenkov-led Bulgarians put on another 40-minute spectacle for the crowd at the Botevgrad Arena with a 91-65 blowout victory against Portugal to move to 3-0 in the Group D standings.
There was a sense of au revoir in the air both on the court and in the stands in what was, essentially, the Bulgarian side's farewell and thank you to the fans. However, the showtime victory ensured coach Lyubomir Minchev's side will not be gone for too long, with the Qualifiers tipping off already in November.
"We were far from our families and friends in the last month. We are here to do our job and nobody particularly cares if we play well, the important thing is the score at the end of the day," said the 22-year-old FC Barcelona forward Vezenkov. "And I feel like we did our job."
"It is great to play in front of the Bulgarian spectators and our goal was to give them a reason for joy. I really hope that we will meet again in November."Bulgaria forward Aleksandar Vezenkov
Having opened up a 28-11 lead already in the opening quarter, Bulgaria continued to pick up steam as the game went along, which allowed to shift some of the focus from keeping opponents at bay to pleasing the crowd with some highlight reel worthy action.
"The strong start gave us a lot of confidence because the Portuguese were very motivated after the last game," the player spoke after tallying a game-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, alongside 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
"Today we played as a team. It is great to play in front of the Bulgarian spectators and our goal was to give them a reason for joy. I really hope that we will meet again in November."
After registering three wins on the trot in the Pre-Qualifiers, Vezenkov and his Bulgarian teammates will have the opportunity to finish the campaign undefeated if they add another win against Belarus on the road in Minsk on Wednesday.
"I told the boys that we have to support each other the same way through both the tough moments and the good moments. We will take the best from this time to the game against Belarus," he looked ahead to the last fixture of the Pre-Qualifiers.
With a ticket to the Qualifiers already in the bag, can Bulgaria pull off a clean sweep in Group D for extra style points?