Big day for Aleksandar Vezenkov, the Nets Bulgarian stash. F.C. Barcelona officially released him from his contract, permitting him to find a new home and he led Bulgaria’s national team to a critical victory in the FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers.
Bulgaria defeated Iceland, 88-86, in the Bulgaria city of Botevgrad , with the 6’9” Vezenkov scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds. He shot 8-of-16. Things were a bit tense at the end, when Vezenkov uncharacteristically missed two free throws with 11 seconds left. Iceland missed a last second three and Bulgaria is likely to move on to the next round and a slot in the World Cup which takes place in China next year.
“I can’t believe it yet, because it is very rare for me to miss two fouls at such an important moment, and I am very glad that the team did not lose because of me,” said Vezenkov, post-game. “All the guys gave everything in their heaviest moments. They led us with 10 points and many teams would give up, but we came back with a very hard-fought game.”
Although we did not play our best game, we won and this is the most important, “Vezenkov told Bulgarian TV.
Bulgaria now plays the Czech Republic Tuesday.
After losing a year of development at Barcelona, Vezenkov has been linked to Euroleague teams in Greece, Turkey and most recently, Russia.