Karl-Anthony Towns gutted after loss to Serbia sends Dominicans home


Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic during a game against Serbia in the Fiba World Cup second round. -MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Karl-Anthony Towns left everything on the floor but Serbia, led by Bogdan Bogdanovic’s perfect game, was just too much for the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Bogdanovic scored 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field to knock off the Dominicans with a 112-79 beatdown in the Fiba World Cup second round at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Towns, who had 25 points and seven rebounds but committed seven turnovers, couldn’t hide his frustration after failing to lead his country to the quarterfinals.

“There’s so many in my mind because of these guys. My teammates made this experience so fun. I think that’s why this hurts so bad. I’m not ready to go home. I wanna be with my guys, I wanna be able to hang out with them, I wanna be able to laugh with them, to have more moments,” Towns told reporters. “It was devastating to not be able to play basketball with these guys.”

But the three-time NBA All-Star hopes that he still made his country proud in his first national team stint in a decade despite ending up winless in two games in the second round after a 3-0 sweep of Group A.

Karl-Anthony Towns Dominican Republic Fiba World Cup

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic during a game against Serbia in the Fiba World Cup. -MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“I hope we made all the families back home proud. I hope that we brought hope to a country that was told that coming here we wouldn’t be anything and we would be kinda of those games that you could win. I hope we showed the girls and boys back home that our country’s full of basketball talent and we are one of the best countries in the world for basketball,” Towns said. “We showed anything’s possible. We showed everything’s possible. I’m proud of every one of the guys in the locker room. I’m so proud of them, all of them, I mean some of the finest basketball in my life I played in this tournament.”

“I hope that fans enjoyed it, obviously I hope for our country, for all the families that needed something to cheer and something to love and something to be proud of. I hope we did that,” he added.

Towns was subbed out in the final three minutes of the game and was given a standing ovation from the Dominicana fans.

“It means a lot to be respected. Something that I feel I don’t get much back home. It was moving to feel respected. It meant a lot, it’s something I don’t get much,” the Dominican Republic star said. “They’ve never been new to me. I’ve been tapped into my country for a long time. Our country is amazing.”

It wasn’t an ideal World Cup ending for Towns but playing for the Dominicans will be a campaign to remember for him.

“We’re blessed. I’m blessed, personally speaking. I had a mother who blessed me with the best country in the world. To the best coaches and to best people I’ve ever met, I’m very honored and blessed to get a chance to wear this jersey and play for the name in front,” Towns said.

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