|16 June 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Gabriela Kubatova feels right at home in France this summer|
By Paul Nilsen
Slovak Republic playmaker Gabriela Kubatova didn't know whether to laugh or cry when she left the court on day one of EuroBasket Women 2013 in Vannes.
Understandably deflated after being part of the Slovakian team that ran out of gas and slumped to a 77-63 loss to Montenegro, Kubatova was dealing with contrasting emotions in the aftermath of the opening contest.
After suffering an ACL injury last year, her dreams of playing at the tournament had looked to be in tatters at one stage.
But, a grimace at the disappointment of the opening days' result, soon turned to a wry smile when she spoke about having at least been able to step onto the floor.
"I have only been back six weeks and it felt good to be out there again for the national team, even if we didn't play as well as we wanted to," she explained.
"I thought I might not be able to play at all, but I worked hard to complete my rehabilitation.
"I desperately wanted to make it, especially since I have had so much time spent off the court with the injury and also because it's in France where I have been for four years with my club team BC Rochee Vendee."
If there was a hint of relief and pleasure at having been able to participate, the sense of a missed opportunity was palpable as the point-guard expressed her frustration at the way Slovak Republic failed to build on an impressive first-half.
"We just couldn't run the floor or push the tempo like we wanted to" said Kubatova.
"If we want to win, we must make the most of fast-break options and play more of a running game.
"But of course it was difficult against an experienced team like Montenego, who don't turn the ball over easily."
Whatever happens for the remainder of the event, Kubatova will be back in France at the start of the 2013-14 club season and couldn't be happier about the prospect.
She claimed, "France is a second home for me and so I feel relaxed playing here and I will be back again for a fifth season.
"I am 90% healthy now and still want to push hard and make improvements in my own game and get back to being 100%.
"The situation is clear with Rochee Vendee, we have the right players, the right coach and right conditions at the club to make a big push to get to the first division of French Basketball.
"I will be back to help the team try and achieve that aim."
Although before Kubatova sets her sights on club success, she has the more pressing priority of trying to prolong the shelf-life of Slovak Republic at EuroBasket Women 2013 - starting with a day two victory against Ukraine.