Austrian ace Rasid Mahalbasic has paid tribute to the thousand supporters who turned out in Oberwart to cheer the team to promotion after the hosts clinched their place in Division A of the U20 European Championship Men.
The center who is averaging a near double-double during the tournament also fired a warning to head coach Werner Sallomon ahead of the final when gold is up for grabs.
|"If we win the gold medal, then we will try to shave off our coaches beard"|
"Sometimes it is just like breathing. To win is great," explained Mahalbasic.
"I want to say a big thank you for the great support from the fans and also a big thanks to all the families of the players who were supporting us here in the gym - that was very important for us."
"If we win the gold medal, then we will try to shave off our coaches beard," he added.
Head coach Werner Sallomon meanwhile might have no idea of the potential razor heading his way after the game against Sweden but what he does know is that he is mightily impressed with his team after they won against Bulgaria.
"The guys were so disciplined and were playing over 40 minutes on the highest level against a strong opponent.
"Because of the importance of the game, the starting players have received more playing time. The team wanted to win this game with all the power and they did it in an impressive way."
Point guard Moritz Lanegger was quick to underline that there is still some work to do as far as the Austrian players are concerned and with part one of their mission now accomplished - they haven't forgotten about putting the cherry on the cake and finishing top of the podium.
He said: "It's just fantastic - the first aim has been reached. However we are now going for gold!"
While promotion to Division A might be the big headline right now, an overjoyed Sports Director Robert Langer took the time to remind everyone of the sweat that has been spilled in reaching their aim.
"We finally did it!
"We were often close to this success during the last few years, but until now we weren't able to move up to Division A.
"It is a huge joy for me, for the many years of hard work, especially with these guys to reach the division A."