MANILA, Philippines – Despite facing a challenging stint in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Angola's towering center, Bruno Fernando, remains optimistic, keen on drawing the positives from his experiences. Angola's run took a hit following a defeat to China, final score 107-89, at the historic Araneta Coliseum this Thursday.
However, the loss was far from disheartening for the Atlanta Hawks center. With an unwavering spirit, Fernando expressed his intent to use the lessons from this global contest to elevate his NBA game. "Though the rules might differ, the essence remains – it's all about basketball.
Whether it's sinking baskets or locking down on defense, the game's fundamentals don't change," Fernando stated. He showcased a commendable performance against China, registering 16 points and collecting six rebounds.
Bruno Fernando Praises World Cup Intensity
Reflecting on the World Cup experience, Fernando remarked, "The competition level here is exhilarating.
Each squad is hungry for victory, and the talent pool is deep." Back in Atlanta, Bruno has had his struggles in making a consistent mark, averaging a modest 3.9 points and 3.5 rebounds last season. In stark contrast, the 6-foot-10 Angolan center is currently thriving on the World Cup stage.
Despite Angola's less-than-favorable results, Fernando boasts an impressive average of 14 points and 5.3 rebounds across four outings. The Angolan giant was a force to be reckoned with during their face-off against Gilas Pilipinas in the group phase, chalking up 14 points and overshadowing Philippine big men like June Mar Fajardo, AJ Edu, Japeth Aguilar, and promising prospect Kai Sotto.
On the topic of Sotto, a 21-year-old with NBA aspirations, Fernando had some inspirational advice: "Stay relentless in your pursuit. Continue the grind. Dreams do materialize." Angola aims to improve its standing and conclude with a 2-3 record post the classification round.
Their next challenge awaits in the form of South Sudan, scheduled for a showdown on Saturday at the same esteemed venue.