MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic said he needed to learn to control his emotions after being ejected Wednesday in his country’s Basketball World Cup quarterfinal defeat to Canada.
Doncic was thrown out of the game in the fourth quarter of Slovenia’s 100-89 defeat in Manila after picking up his second technical foul.
He had been subjected to some physical defending by Canada and spent much of the game complaining to the referees.
Doncic admitted that his emotions got the better of him and vowed to “be better for my team” in the future.
“I think everybody knows what the frustration was,” he said.
“Playing for the national team, there’s a lot of emotions. A lot of times I have to control myself, which I’m having problems with.”
Doncic was engaged in a running battle with Canada’s Dillon Brooks, who was also ejected earlier in the fourth quarter.
Brooks is known as one of the fiercest defenders in the National Basketball Association and he used all his tricks to unsettle Doncic.
The Manila crowd cheered the Slovenian’s every move and booed Brooks, who responded by blowing a kiss to the fans after nailing an early three-point shot.
Doncic paid respect to Brooks for his performance.
“He played very physically like he always does,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t like him but I respect him for what he does.”
Slovenia’s defeat meant they were also eliminated from the race to qualify for the Paris Olympics as one of the two highest-placed European teams at the World Cup.
Doncic said responsibility “starts with me.”
“With all the emotions, playing for your country, you want to give your best,” he said.
“You want to die out there so it starts with me for sure.”