Donatas Montejunas says Fiba World Cup stint ‘not comparable’ to his last Manila trip


Lithuania’s Donatas Montejunas. –FIBA BASKETBALL

A key member of Lithuania’s Fiba World Cup team sees no reason to compare the accomplishment of reaching the final phase to the experience he had in Manila 10 years ago as an NBA cager.

Donatas Montejunas is the only player in the current tournament to have appeared in the country’s first and still only NBA preseason game as a center for the Houston Rockets, who faced the Indiana Pacers at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Rockets won, 116-96, on Oct. 10, 2013, but the NBA has yet to return to the Philippines since.

“It’s uncomparable,” Montejunas said after one of Lithuania’s games. “Because this is for the world championship and it’s a different experience.”

Montejunas had 16 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes for the Rockets, who were led by James Harden, Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin.

The Pacers were led at the time by Paul George, the team’s topscorer with 17 points.

Indiana also had Donald Sloan, who two years prior reinforced Barangay Ginebra in the Governors’ Cup, and Orlando Johnson, import of the same team in 2015 and San Miguel Beer in 2022.

Lithuania was playing Serbia as of posting time, also at Mall of Asia, where it will seek to reach the World Cup semifinals and at least close in on one of the two European slots for next year’s Paris Olympics.

“To clinch the top eight in the world is something special for us and for our country, so you cannot compare those two games,” said Montejunas.

“That was a preseason game, this was playing for your country,” added the current cager for French side AS Monaco Basket.

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