Decisions Ahead For Bulgaria Boss

30 July 2009

Bulgaria coach Pini Gershon has admitted he is no closer to knowing which American-born player will be in his squad for the EuroBasket in Poland this September.

Both Andre Owens and Earl Rowland are available to Gershon after receiving their Bulgarian passports in the last few days, but Gershon can only select one.

The pair were impressive in a 103-74 friendly win over Portugal on Wednesday night that has only given Gershon more food for thought.

"It is still early to say which American has done better," he said. "We need some more time to determine whether Owens or Rowland will join the team for the EuroBasket in September."

Owens scored 14 points in the game, while Rowland contributed nine points, four rebounds and three assists in limited minutes.

Bulgaria will line up against Portugal again on Thursday, with Gershon aiming to take a look at all the players in his squad before making decisions about his final 12-man group.

"We have a lot of players, the group is large and not everybody played in this game," he said. "Tomorrow we will look at a few other players."

Bulgaria got off to a lightning quick start in the game, racing out to a 16-2 lead after five minutes.
Portugal could not keep pace and fell into a 25-point hole in the first half.

But the contest was much more even after the break, and Gershon knows the fast start helped to mask a few issues his team must still work on.

"As a first test I was pleased with how we did," he said. "We played better attacking than we did defending, but we must emphasise we are still training at the moment.
"In the second half we did not do so well defending, but we have enough time left to prepare before we go to Poland."
Dejan Ivanov and Filip Videnov led Bulgaria with 15 points each, while Todor Stoykov also had 14.

Bulgaria have been drawn in Group D for EuroBasket, along with hosts Poland, Turkey and Lithuania.

Portugal still have hopes of being in Poland too, but must first come through the Additional Qualifying Round, in which they will face Bosnia and Herzegovina next Wednesday.

Despite the heavy defeat, the Portuguese got encouraging performances from Jorge Coelho, who poured in 21 points, and Joao Santos, who had 17.


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