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Lions Ready To Go After Slovenia Place

08 May 2012
EUROBASKET QUALIFIERS

14. Thomas Van Den Spiegel (Belgium)
Veteran big man Thomas Van Den Spiegel, now 34, will suit up for Belgium once again this summer

Belgium didn't get the result they desired at last year's EuroBasket in Lithuania and injuries certainly did not help.

In the days leading up to the 24-team event, Belgium lost arguably their most important player when Bilbao Basket's Axel Hervelle got hurt.

The Belgium Lions, led by veteran coach Eddy Casteels, proceeded to lose all five of their games in Group D, including a crucial 68-65 setback in their second game against Bulgaria in Klaipeda.

Casteels remains upbeat, however, that Belgium can keep the momentum going from the past few summers.

They had won their qualifying group to reach the EuroBasket in Lithuania before the announcement was made that the tournament was expanding to 24 teams, so there is cause for optimism.

In their Qualification Round games for EuroBasket 2013 in Sweden, Belgium will go up against Finland, Poland, Switzerland and Albania.

The top two sides from each of the six groups will progress to the Final Round, as well as the four best third-placed teams.

"We're not among the favorites in our group," Casteels said," but I really believe.

"We have a competitive team."

Among those in the side are veterans Christophe Beghin, Sam Van Rossom and Tomas Van den Spiegel.

Yannick Driesen and Pierre-Antoine Gillet will also have important roles.

Driesen averaged 11 minutes per game this season in Spain's Liga Endesa with Asefa Estudiantes while Gillet has played with Belgacom Liege.

"I have divided the preparation campaign into two parts," Casteels said.

"In July, I intend to give opportunities to young people in friendly games.

"I will add experienced players for the national team at the beginning of qualifying games in August."

Belgium preliminary squad: Christophe Beghin, Maxime Dezeeuw, Yannick Driesen, Pierre-Antoine Gillet, Justin Hamilton, Axel Hervelle, Geoffrey Hockins, Ioann Iarochevitch, Dimitri Lauwers, Niels Marnegrave, Sacha Massot, Roel Moors, Wen Mukubu, Guy Muya, Jean-Marc Mwema, Maarten Rademakers, Andre Riddick, Quentin Serron, Jorn Steinbach, Jonathan Tabu, Tomas Van den Spiegel and Sam Van Rossom.

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