TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - For sure, Mario Palma is a determined man.
Unlike many others who might have reveled basking in the glory of the maiden medal at the FIBA Asia Championship, the Jordan coach walked out of the court telling his spearhead Sam Daghles, “We need to discuss our plans for the next season. We need to discuss a lot with Zain and ASU (the leading clubs in the Jordanian league).”
Such was the man’s focus on the job ahead.
Excerpts from Palma’s comments after winning the bronze
On the bronze medal play off
Our players were not nervous and were focused on the job at hand. We decided to fight from the first minute to the last.
We played a great game on defence, we played a great game in organization in offence, we played a great game on fast breaks and most importantly we had a great desire to win.
On Jordan’s performance overall
We came here wanting to qualify. Our target was Turkey when we landed in Tianjin.
But through the course of the Championship we started to believe that we could win the Championship. And last night we almost close towards our goal.
But when we lost the semifinal, unlike many other teams we were not outraged. We were disappointed for sure, but we knew we couldn’t lose focus.
And then it was easier to go back to our original goal.
I think that was the main reason why we could play better than them (Lebanon) tonight.
On Jordan’s progress in Asian basketball
When I arrived in Jordan Jordan was 68th in the FIBA ranking. Last time we moved up to the 40s. And now I’ms sure we would have moved a lot higher.
On the team
We had a team that played excellent basketball. We made everybody look up. We made everybody talk about us. And I’m very happy, because we have worked together for three years and it has finally borne fruit.
This team has sacrificed a lot. They have spent months away from the family either playing tournaments or in training.
We have spent more time in hotels and (air) planes. I think this team deserved more than any other team here to the world championship.
On Jordan’s preparatory path to Turkey
We are just not going to the World Championship to make the numbers.
We are going to play hard.