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‘I love you, Giannis’: Italy’s coach ecstatically ambushes Antetokounmpo after upsetting Serbia at Eurobasket

Giannis Antetokoumpo, Gianmarco Pozzecco, Eurobasket, Italy, Greece

Beating a team led by two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is no small feat. Such a task is even more difficult if Jokic drops 32 points on 57% shooting from the field while going 14/15 from the free-throw line. But the four-seed Italy managed to do the unthinkable, upsetting the Jokic-led 1-seed Serbia, 94-86, in the Elimination Round of 16 of the Eurobasket, and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo got to experience firsthand how much the victory meant to Italy’s head coach, Gianmarco Pozzecco.

Fresh off the Italian triumph, Gianmarco Pozzecco wasted no time expressing his exuberance, coming out of nowhere from the Mercedez-Benz Arena locker rooms and jumping straight onto the path of the Greek Freak who was preparing for his game later on against the Czech Republic, sharing a tender, if funny, moment after Giannis caught the 49-year old coach in mid-air. Just look at how Antetokounmpo reciprocated Pozzecco’s embrace!

Coach Pozzecco even yelled “I love you Giannis” out, as if the hug wasn’t enough:

Knocking off one of the tournament favorites in Serbia would certainly make anyone so ecstatic that they won’t even think twice about jumping in for a hug with a 6’11 behemoth of a man, and coach Pozzecco surely picked the right guy to hug. We all know Giannis is one of the friendliest and personable basketball players in the world. He even said “Love you man” in return!

Such an encounter might have done wonders for Giannis too, after he spearheaded the Greek attack en route to a 94-88 win against the Czechs.

Italy wasn’t able to get off to an ideal start in the tournament, losing their first two group stage games against Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece and the underrated Ukraine. Giannis dropped 25 points and 11 rebounds in the earlier matchup, doing just enough to keep Simone Fontecchio and his 25 points for the Italians at bay, 85-81.

Another matchup between Italy and Greece will only materialize should both teams make it all the way to the Eurobasket finals, no easy task with Italy set to face Rudy Gobert and France and Greece set to face the red-hot Germany led by Dennis Schröder in the Round of 8, with Luka Doncic’s Slovenia and the Hernangomez brothers of Spain still present as foils in a potential semifinals matchup.

For now, Fontecchio and Giannis Antetokounmpo will bring the power of their newfound friendship into the next round, their wholesome embrace living proof that sports doesn’t always have to be so serious.