DONATAS Motiejunas of Lithuania believes Gilas Pilipinas will be in for a tough competition when it sees action in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.
The third-string power forward and center of the Houston Rockets said the Lithuanians are going to give their all if and when they end up being bracketed with the Philippines during the preliminaries.
“Hopefully, we will not meet the Philippines in the group, because we will be playing our best,” a smiling Motiejunas (pronounced moe-tee-YOU-nus) said in an interview with Spin.ph during the NBA Global Games Philippines last week at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 23-year-old Motiejunas had a solid performance for the Rockets against the Indiana Pacers during the first ever NBA preseason game to be held in the country.
Turning serious, Motiejunas said the Fiba World Cup is definitely not going to be a walk in the park especially for the Philippines which is returning to the world championship for the first time after 35 years.
Motiejunas made the remark based on his own experience playing for Lithuania in several age-group world championships and a stint in this year’s Fiba Eurobasket.
“It’s going to be tough games for them. The world (basketball) championship is one of the strongest championships in the world,” said Motiejunas.
And the Lithuanian knows where he is coming from.
Motiejunas saw action for Lithuania in the Fiba-Eurobasket where the team reached the finals but lost to Tony Parker and France.
But like Gilas Pilipinas which lost the championship match against Iran during the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship last August, Lithuania also gained a berth in the World Cup.
Motiejunas said he’s also looking forward to playing in the World Cup as Lithuania tries to duplicate – or even surpass - its bronze medal finish during the 2010 edition of the meet in Istanbul.
“It’s going to be fun and real interesting for us,” said Motiejunas.
He also hopes to stay with the Rockets for the coming NBA regular season.
“The life in Houston and the NBA is different. So far, I’m happy with the way I’ve been playing, much better now that is why I’m happy,” said Motiejunas.