Giannis Antetokounmpo shines as Greece aims for Olympic berth

Giannis Antetokounmpo showcased his determination to lead Greece to its first Olympic berth since 2008 with an outstanding performance.

Antetokounmpo scored 32 points in just 19 minutes, going a perfect 11-of-11 from the field, as Greece cruised to a 109-82 victory over the Dominican Republic in Group B of the Piraeus, Greece, Olympic qualifying tournament on Wednesday.

Thomas Walkup contributed 17 points for Greece, which led by as many as 27 points. Greece can secure a spot in the semifinal round of the tournament with a win over Egypt on Thursday.

“Giannis loves to be here. He loves to represent his country,” Greece coach Vassilis Spanoulis said. “He’s very humble. He’s part of the team. For a superstar you don’t find this easy. … He’s about winning.”

The tournament in Greece is one of four being held to determine the final four spots in the men’s basketball field for the Paris Olympics. Other qualifying tournaments are taking place in Latvia, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Group play at all four locations continues through Thursday, with semifinal games on Saturday and the title games on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo, who has yet to make an Olympic appearance in his illustrious basketball career, showed no signs of being hampered by the strained left calf that sidelined him during the Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff run in April. He dominated the game, getting to the rim at will, converting 9-of-13 free-throws, and even hitting his only three-point attempt.

With this performance, Antetokounmpo and Greece have made a strong statement about their intentions for the Paris Olympics, and fans eagerly await to see if they can carry this momentum forward and secure their spot in the Games.

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